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Full text of "The Palimpsest"

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GENEALOGY 
311 .1 
P176 
1920 
JUL-DEC 



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the Internel 


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in 2013 









http://archive.org/details/palimpsest01iowa 



Palimpsest 



EDITED BY JOHN C. PARISH 

ASSOCIATE EDITOR OF THE STATE 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OP IOWA 



VOLUME I 

JULY TO DECEMBER 
1920 



PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY 

THE STATE HISTOEICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA 
IOWA CITY IOWA 
1920 



Copyright 1920 by 
The State Historical Society of Iowa 



CONTENTS 
NuMBEK 1 — July 1920 

The Vision Benj. F. Shambaugh 

Palimpsests John C. Parish 

White Beans for Hanging John C. Parish 
Comment by the Editor 

Number 2 — August 1920 

Newspaper History Bertha M. H. Shambaugh 
An Editorial Dialogue John C. Parish 

Three Men and a Press John C. Parish 

Comment by the Editor 

Number 3^ — September 1920 

A Romance of the Forties William S. Johnson 

Benjamin Stone Roberts Ruth A. Gallaher 

The Execution of Patrick O'Connor 

Bliphalet Price 

Comment by the Editor 



iv CONTENTS I 

Number 4 — October 1920 

Father Mazzuchelli John C. Parish 101 

A Few Martial Memories Clinton Parkhurst 111 

Comment by the Editor 129 

Number 5 — November 1920 

A Geological Palimpsest John E. Briggs 133 

The Iowa Home Note Bertha M. H. Shambaugh 143 

Through European Eyes 

Beltrami, Murray, Bremer, and Stevenson 144 

Comment by the Editor 166 

Number 6 — December 1920 

Crossing the Mississippi William S. Johnson 169 

Clint Parkhurst Aug. P. Richter 183 

Comment by the Editor 193 

Index 197 




John (j;;BASiiH.. J-'' 



The Editor 



::-^'.:^t^\iV^: ' - .w;.^.... 



Published Monthly At lowACmr By 



THE SlMEH^roiftCAl! SqflEIYoFlOWA 



APPLICATION FOR ENTRY AS SECONO CLASS MATTER AT THE POST OFFICE AT IOWA CITY IOWA PtNOINrt 



THE PURPOSE OF THIS MAGAZINE 

The Palimpsest, issued monthly by The State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense— to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. SHAMBAUGH 

Superintendent 

THE MEANING OF PALIMPSESTS 

In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 



PRICE — lOc per copy : $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 



The Palimpsest 

EDITED BY JOHN C. PARISH 
Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. I Issued in July 1920 No. 1 

COPYRIGHT I920 BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA 

The Vision 

In imagination let us picture the history of Iowa 
as a splendid drama enacted upon a giant stage 
which extends from the Father of Waters on the 
right to the Missouri on the left, with the Valley of 
the Upper Mississippi as a background. 

Let us people this stage with the real men and 
women who have lived here — mysterious mound 
builders, picturesque red men and no less interesting 
white men, Indians, Spaniards, Frenchmen, explo- 
rers, warriors, priests, fur traders, adventurers, 
miners, settlers, country folk, and townspeople. 

Let the scenes be set among the hills, on the 
prairies, in the forests, along the rivers, about the 
lakes, and in the towns and villages. 

Then, viewing this pageant of the past, let us 
write the history of the Commonwealth of Iowa as 
we would write romance — with life, action, and 
color — that the story of this land and its people 

^iv^- Benj. F. Shambaugh 



1 



Palimpsests 



Palimpsests of a thousand and two thousand years 
ago were parchments or other manuscript material 
from which one writing had been erased to give 
room for another. The existence of these double 
texts was due chiefly to the scarcity of materials. 
Waxen tablets, papyrus rolls, parchment sheets, and 
vellum books each served the need of the scribe. But 
they were not so easily procured as to invite extrava- 
gance in their use or even to meet the demand of the 
early writers and medieval copyists for a place to 
set down their epics, their philosophies, and their 
hero tales. 

And so parchments that were covered with the 
writings of Homer or Caesar or Saint Matthew were 
dragged forth by the eager scribes, and the accounts 
of Troy or Gaul or Calvary erased to make a clean 
sheet for the recording of newer matters. Some- 
times this second record would in turn be removed 
and a third deposit made upon the parchment. 

The papyrus rolls and the parchments of the early 
period of palimpsests were merely sponged off — 
the ink of that time being easily removable, though 
the erasure was not always permanent. The later 
parchments were usually scraped with a knife or 
rubbed with pumice after the surface had been soft- 
ened by some such compound as milk and meal. 

2 



PALIMPSESTS 



3 



This method was apt to result in a more complete 
obliteration of the text. 

But there came men whose curiosity led them to 
try to restore the original writing. Atmospheric 
action in the course of time often caused the sponged 
record to reappear ; chemicals were used to intensify 
the faint lines of the old text ; and by one means or 
another many palimpsest manuscripts were de- 
ciphered and their half-hidden stories rescued and 
revived. 

On a greater scale time itself is year by year 
making palimpsests. The earth is the medium. A 
civilization w^rites its record upon the broad surface 
of the land: dwellings, cultivated fields, and roads 
are the characters. Then time sponges out or 
scrapes off the writing and allows another story to 
be told. Huge glaciers change the surface of the 
earth; a river is turned aside; or a flood descends 
and washes out the marks of a valley people. More 
often the ephemeral work of man is merely brushed 
away or overlain and forgotten. Foundations of old 
dwellings are covered with drifting sand or fast 
growing weeds. Auto roads hide the Indian trail 
and the old buffalo trace. The caveman's rock is 
quarried away to make a state capitol. 

But the process is not always complete, nor does 
it defy restoration. The frozen sub-soil of the plains 
of northern Siberia has preserved for us not only 
the skeletons of mammoths, but practically complete 
remains, with hair, skin, and flesh in place — mum- 



4 



THE PALIMPSEST 



mies, as it were, of the animals of prehistoric times. 
In the layers of sediment deposited by the devas- 
tating water lie imbedded the relics of ancient civili- 
zations. The grass-grown earth of the Mississippi 
Valley covers with but a thin layer the work of the 
mound builders and the bones of the workmen 
themselves. 

With the increasing civilization of humanity, the 
earth-dw^ellers have consciously and with growing 
intelligence tried to leave a record that will defy 
erasure. Their buildings are more enduring, their 
roads do not so easily become grass-grown, the 
evidences of their life are more abundant, and their 
writings are too numerous to be entirely obliterated. 

Yet they are only partially successful. The tooth 
of time is not the only destroyer. Mankind itself is 
careless. Letters, diaries, and even official docu- 
ments go into the furnace, the dump heap, or the 
pulp mill. The memory of man is almost as evanes- 
cent as his breath ; the work of his hand disintegrates 
when the hand is withdrawn. Only fragments 
remain — a line or two here and there plainly visible 
on the palimpsest of the centuries — the rest is dim 
if it is not entirely gone. Nevertheless with diligent 
effort much can be restored, and there glows upon 
the page the fresh, vivid chronicles of long forgotten 
days. Out of the ashes of Mount Vesuvius emerges 
the city of Pompeii. The clearing away of a jungle 
from the top of a mountain in Peru reveals the 
wonderful stonework of the city of Machu Picchu, 



PALIMPSESTS 



5 



the cradle of the Inca civilization. The piecing 
together of letters, journals and reports, newspaper 
items, and old paintings enables us to see once more 
the figures of the pioneers moving in their accus- 
tomed ways through the scenes of long ago. 

The palimpsests of Iowa are full of fascination. 
Into the land between the rivers there came, when 
time was young, a race of red men. Their record 
was slight and long has been overlain by that of the 
whites. Yet out of the dusk of that far off time 
come wild, strange, moving tales, for even their 
slender writings were not all sponged from the face 
of the land. Under the mounds of nearly two score 
counties and in the wikiups of a few surviving 
descendants, are the uneffaced letters of the ancient 
text. 

And the white scribes who wrote the later record 
of settlement and growth, read the earlier tale as it 
was disappearing and told it again in part in the 
new account. These new comers in turn became the 
old, their homes and forts fell into decay, their 
records faded, and their ways were crowded aside 
and forgotten. 

But they were not all erased. Here and there 
have survived an ancient building, a faded map, a 
time-eaten diary, the occasional clear memory of a 
pioneer not yet gathered to his fathers. And into 
the glass show cases of museums drift the countless 
fragments of the story of other days. Yet with all 
these survivals, how little effort is made to piece 



6 THE PALIMPSEST 

together the scattered fragments into a connected 
whole. 

Here is an old log cabin, unheeded because it did 
not house a Lincoln. But call its former occupant 
John Doe and try to restore the life of two or three 
generations ago. It requires no diligent search to 
find a plow like the one he used in the field and a 
spinning wheel which his wife might have mistaken 
for her own. Over the fireplace of a descendant 
hang the sword and epaulets he wore when he went 
into the Black Hawk War, or the old muzzle-loading 
gun that stood ready to hand beside the cabin door. 
And perhaps in an attic trunk w^ill be found a 
daguerreotype of John Doe himself, dignified and 
grave in the unwonted confinement of high collar 
and cravat, or a miniature of Mrs. Doe with pink 
cheeks, demure eyes, and fascinating corkscrew 
curls. 

Out of the family Bible drops a ticket of admission 
to an old time entertainment. Yonder is the violin 
that squeaked out the measure at many a pioneer 
ball. Here is the square foot warmer that lay in the 
bottom of his cutter on the way home and there the 
candlestick that held the home-made tallow dip by 
the light of which he betook himself to bed. 

In the files of some library is the yellowed news- 
paper with which-— if he were a Whig — he sat 
down to revel in the eulogies of ^^Old Tippecanoe'* 
in the log cabin and hard cider campaign of 1840, or 
applaud the editorial which, with pioneer vigor and 



PALIMPSESTS 



7 



unrefined vocabulary, castigated the **low scoun- 
drel'' who edited the **rag" of the opposing party. 

But most illuminating of all are the letters that he 
wrote and received, and the journal that tells the 
little intimate chronicles of his day to day life. 
Hidden away in the folds of the letters, with the 
grains of black sand that once blotted the fresh ink, 
are the hopes and joys and fears and hates of a real 
man. And out of the journal pages rise the inci- 
dents which constituted his life — the sickness and 
death of a daughter, the stealing of his horses, his 
struggles with poverty and poor crops, his election 
to the legislature, a wonderful trip to Chicago, the 
building of a new barn, and the barn warming that 
followed. 

Occasionally he drops in a stirring tale of the 
neighborhood: a border war, an Indian alarm, a 
street fight, or a hanging, and recounts his little part 
in it. John Doe and his family and neighbors are 
resurrected. And so other scenes loom up from the 
dimness of past years, tales that stir the blood or 
the imagination, that bring laughter and tears in 
quick succession, that, like a carpet of Bagdad, 
transport one into the midst of other places and for- 
gotten days. 

Time is an inexorable reaper but he leaves glean- 
ings, and mankind is learning to prize these gifts. 
Careful research among fast disappearing docu- 
ments has rescued from the edge of oblivion many 
a precious bit of the narrative of the past. 



8 



THE PALIMPSEST 



It is the plan of this publication to restore some 
of those scenes and events that lie half -hidden upon 
the palimpsests of Iowa, to show the meaning of 
those faint tantalizing lines underlying the more 
recent markings — lines that the pumice of time has 
not quite rubbed away and which may be made to 
reveal with color and life and fidelity the enthralling 
realities of departed generations. 

John C. Pakish 



White Beans For Hanging 

The tale that follows is not a placid one, for it has 
to do with the sharp, dramatic outlines of one of the 
bloodiest struggles that ever took place between 
whites within the bounds of Iowa. Therefore let 
those who wish a gentle narrative of the ways of a 
man with a maid take warning and close the leaves 
of this record. The story is of men who lived 
through troublous days and circumstances and who 
at times thought they could attain peace only by 
looking along the sights of a gun barrel. 

The facts are given largely as they were related 
by Sheriff Warren. It is more than three quarters 
of a century since the events occurred, and Warren 
and the others who took part have long since left 
this life. There have been those who tell in some 
respects a different story, but it seems probable that 
the sheriff, whose business led him through every 
turn of the events, knew best what happened. And 
his long continuance in office and the widespread 
respect and admiration that was his, even from 
those who qualify his account, lead one to feel that 
he did not greatly pervert the record. 

Warren was a Kentuckian by birth and a resident 
for some years at the lead mines of Galena ; but he 
crossed the Mississippi and located at Bellevue, in 
Iowa Territory, when that town was a mere settle- 



9 



10 



THE PALIMPSEST 



ment on the western fringe of population. Active 
and courageous, this young man was appointed 
sheriff of the County of Jackson and held the posi- 
tion for nearly a decade. 

Soon after his arrival there came to Bellevue a 
group of settlers from Coldwater, Michigan. Among 
them was William W. Brown, a tall, dark complex- 
ioned man, who bought a two-story house and opened 
a hotel. Brown was a genial host, full of intelligence 
and pleasing in his manners, and he won imme- 
diate popularity among the people of the county. 
His wife, too, a little woman of kindly ways and 
sturdy spirit, was a general favorite. 

Brown also kept a general store and became a 
partner in a meat market. In this way he came in 
touch with a large number of the pioneers, and the 
liberality with which he allowed credit and his gener- 
osity to the poor endeared him to many. The hotel 
was a convenient stopping place for men driving 
from the interior of the county to Galena. They 
came to Bellevue to cross the Mississippi, stopped 
off at Brown's, ate at his far famed table, drank of 
his good liquor, and listened to his enlivening talk. 
And usually they went away feeling that the friendly 
landlord was a most valuable addition to the com- 
munity. 

When winter came he hired a number of men and 
put them at work on the island near the town cutting 
wood to supply fuel to the Mississippi steamboats. 
At the approach of spring, and before the ice broke 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 11 



up, the woodcutters became teamsters, and long lines 
of teams might be seen hauling the cords of wood 
across the ice to the Iowa side where they were piled 
up on the shore of the river. 

Bellevue in 1837 was less than five years old. On 
a plateau overlooking the Mississippi a few houses 
had sprung up ; then came stores and a hotel. Along 
the river and off in the outlying districts other small 
settlements began to appear. Roads and common 
interests united them and they formed a typical 
group of pioneer communities. Warren found the 
preservation of order in this new county somewhat 
of a task. Conditions of life were primitive and so 
also were the habits of the pioneers. Derelicts and 
outcasts from older settlements found their way to 
the new. Petty thieving was not uncommon, and 
travelers were often set upon as they passed from 
town to town — sometimes they disappeared un- 
accountably from the face of the earth. Men found 
themselves in possession of counterfeit money; 
horses and cattle were stolen; and pioneer feuds or 
drunken brawls now and then ended in a killing. 
Yet Jackson County was without a jail. 

For some years the whole northwest had suffered 
from the operations of gangs of horse thieves and 
counterfeiters, and it began to look to Warren and 
others as if one of these gangs had particular asso- 
ciations with Jackson County. Horses and cattle, 
stolen in the east, turned up at Bellevue with curious 
frequency ; bad money became common and thieving 



12 



THE PALIMPSEST 



grew more bold. Again and again circumstantial 
evidence associated crimes with one or another of 
the men who worked for Brown or made their head- 
quarters at his hotel. f 

One of these men was James Thompson, a son of 
well-to-do Pennsylvania parents and a man of some 
education. Twice he was arrested for passing 
counterfeit money and once for robbing stores in 
Galena, but in each case he was cleared on techni- 
cahties or on the testimony of his associates. Two 
other members of the suspected group were William 
Fox, charged with a part in the Galena robbery, and 
one Chichester who, together with Thompson, was 
implicated in the robbing of an old French fur trader ' 
named Rolette. 

The people of the county were particularly irri- 
tated by the fact that seldom was any one punished 
for these crimes. The aggrieved parties often found 
Brown appearing as counsel for his men when they 
were brought to trial; and almost invariably alibis 
were proven. At one time Thompson, arrested on 
the charge of passing counterfeit money near Ga- 
lena, was released on the testimony of Fox and three 
others of his associates that at the time mentioned 
he was attending the races with them in Davenport. 
At another time a man was cleared by the state- 
ments of his friends that they had played cards with 
him throughout the night in question. 

Brown *s constant connection with the suspects 
and his assistance in case of their trial caused his 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 13 



own reputation to suffer. Many people came to be- 
lieve that he was in reality the very shrewd and 
clever leader of an organized gang of criminals. 
Others felt that he was a man unjustly accused and 
wronged. 

Among those of his early friends who lost faith in 
him was Thomas Cox, a veteran of the War of 1812 
and the Black Hawk War and a man of magnetic 
personality and dominant will. Over six feet tall 
and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds, he was 
vigorous enough even when well beyond the half- 
century mark to place his hands on the withers of a 
horse and vault into the saddle without touching the 
stirrups. In 1838 he had been chosen to represent 
his county in the Territorial legislature and in 1839 
he wished greatly to succeed himself in the office. 
At the time of nominations Cox was absent from 
home attending to his duties at the capital, but he 
counted on his friend Brown to support him. What 
was his surprise then to find that Brown had been 
nominated in his place. He immediately announced 
himself as an independent candidate and was elected. 
But from that time forth he distrusted and opposed 
the hotel keeper. 

Brown's charm of manner and apparent sincerity, 
however, kept friends and adherents for him among 
many of the best people of the county. A number of 
the men of the vicinity, anxious to help matters, 
finally decided to call a meeting, put the case 
squarely to Brown and see if he would not do some- 



14 



THE PALIMPSEST 



tiling to rid the neighborhood of its reign of crime. 

Brown appeared, but with him came the notorious 
Tliompson. James Mitchell, a fiery opponent of the 
suspected gang, jumped to his feet at once, charac- 
terized Thompson as a robber and counterfeiter and 
demanded his withdrawal. Thompson, infuriated, 
drew his pistol, but was seized by the bystanders 
and hustled out of the room, breathing threats 
against the life of Mitchell. Outside a group of his 
friends gathered. They broke the door and stormed 
into the room, and only the efforts of Brown pre- 
vented a bloody conflict. 

As a result of the meeting Brown agreed to do 
what he could and the next day most of his boarders, 
shouldering their axes, crossed over to the island 
where they set to work chopping wood. The relief, 
however, was only partial. Robberies continued 
and raids upon the island disclosed much plunder. 

So things ran on till the winter of 1839. Warren 
tells us that under the dominant influence of Brown ^s 
men the holidays were marked by drinking and dissi- 
pation rather than the usual dancing and feasting. 
The better citizens determined to celebrate Jack- 
son's victory at New Orleans by a ball on the evening 
of J anuary 8. Furthermore, upon the suggestion of 
Mitchell, who w^as one of the managers, it was agreed 
that none of Brown's men should be allowed to par- 
ticipate in the occasion. 

After many preparations the night came. The 
flower of Bellevue womankind, bewitching with 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 15 



smiles and curls and gay attire, and the vigorous 
men of that pioneer town gathered at a newly built 
hotel to enjoy the music and bountiful refreshments 
and to engage in the delights of the quadrille and the 
Virginia reel. Mitchell was there with his wife and 
daughter and two sisters. Sheriff Warren, because 
of sickness, was unable to attend ; and Thompson and 
the other men upon whom the company had learned 
to look with such disfavor were nowhere to be seen. 

Around and around on the rude puncheon floor 
went the dancers, moving with slow and graceful 
steps through the stately figures of the quadrille or 
quickening their pace to a more lively measure of 
the tireless musicians. Suddenly came a strange 
commotion by the door and excited men and women 
gathered about a young woman who had reached the 
ball room, half clad and almost spent with fright and 
exhaustion. It was Miss Hadley, a young relative 
of MitchelPs who, too sick to attend the ball, had 
been left alone at his home. When she could speak 
the dancers learned that Thompson and some of his 
friends had taken advantage of MitchelPs absence 
to plunder his house, and the indignities at the hands 
of Thompson from which Miss Hadley had with 
difficulty escaped formed a climax that stirred the 
spirit of murder in Mitchell's heart. Borrowing a 
pistol from Tom Sublett, he left the ball room and 
went out into the night in search of his enemy. 

The night well served his purpose. The moon — 
clear and full — hung high in the heavens, opening 



16 



THE PALIMPSEST 



up to his view long stretches of village street. The 
frosty air rang with every sound. His quest was 
short. There swung into sight down the otherwise 
empty street two men, and the quiet of the night was 
shattered by drunken curses. Mitchell strode on to 
meet them. One of the two called out to him in 
warning. The other came on as steadily as did 
Mitchell. In one hand was a pistol, in the other a 
bowie knife, and influenced by drink, his purpose 
matched that of the man he met. 

Scarcely three feet separated the men, when 
Thompson attacked with pistol and knife at once. 
His gun, however, at the critical instant missed fire 
and a moment later a ball from his opponent's pistol 
entered his heart. Mitchell seeing Thompson dead 
at his feet, turned and retraced his steps to the ball 
room, where he gave himself up to the deputy sheriff 
and asked for protection against the mob he knew 
would soon appear. 

The terrified guests of the J ackson Day Ball scat- 
tered to the four corners of the night. Women, un- 
mindful of wraps or dignity, sought the safety of 
home, and the men, hurrying away to arm them- 
selves, did not all — it is safe to say — return. 

Anson Harrington and another man who had 
weapons remained with Mitchell and these three 
with the devoted women of his family took refuge in 
the upper story of the hotel. The air now became 
vocal with the tumult of Thompson's friends ap- 
proaching with wild cries of revenge. The deputy^ 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 17 



sheriff tried in vain to stop them, then dashed off to 
summon Sheriff Warren. Upstairs the little group 
had taken the stove from its place and poised it 
near the head of the stairway ready to roll it down 
upon the heads of the invaders. 

In a turmoil of rage the crowd of men swarmed 
into the house and, headed by Brown, reached the 
foot of the stairway. But the muzzles of guns look- 
ing down upon them, and their acquaintance with 
the grim nature of the men above halted them. 
Baffled, they began calling for the women to come 
down, threatening to burn the house and punctu- 
ating their threats by firing bullets up through the 
ceiling into the room above. 

Soon Warren appeared upon the scene. He prom- 
ised to be responsible for Mitchell's appearance in 
the morning and persuaded Brown to quiet his in- 
flamed men. They dispersed reluctantly and the dis- 
turbed night at length resumed its quiet. In the 
morning Mitchell was taken from the hotel, ar- 
raigned before a court, and bound over for trial. 
For want of a jail he was held under guard in his 
own house. 

The friends of Thompson, though making no open 
demonstration, were nursing their desire for re- 
venge. William Fox, Lyman Wells, Chichester, and 
a few others — unknown to Brown — laid a diabol- 
ical scheme to blow up with gunpowder the house in 
which Mitchell was being held. Mitchell had killed 
their comrade — only by his death could they be 



18 



THE PALIMPSEST 



appeased, and they had little hope that the process 
of law would exact from him the death penalty. So 
one night they stole a large can of powder from one 
of the village stores and repaired to MitchelPs 
house. At midnight everything was quiet. A shed 
gave access by a stairway to the cellar and the 
powder was soon placed by Fox, while Wells laid 
the train which was to start the explosion. Un- 
observed the two men returned to their comrades 
who had been drinking themselves into a proper 
frame of mind. The question now arose as to who 
should apply the match. And at this midnight 
council the conspirators agreed to cast lots for the 
doubtful honor. It fell upon Chichester and he 
stepped to the task without hesitation. A few mo- 
ments later there was a flash, but to the men who 
had fixed their hopes on this instant of time there 
came a great disappointment for the report was 
strangely feeble. When the sun from across the 
river brought another day to the distracted town the 
house was still standing and Mitchell and his family 
and the guard were unhurt. 

Among the conspirators there was discussion and 
probably an uneasy curiosity as to the next move of 
Mitchell's friends. But there came no immediate 
sequel. Sheriff Warren took no action, although he 
held the key to the situation. There had been a de- 
serter in the camp of the plotters. Lyman Wells, in 
laying the train to the can of powder, had left a gap 
so that the main deposit of explosive had not been 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 19 



reached. The next day he told the whole story to the 
sheriff who took possession of the powder but with- 
held from Mitchell the news of the attempt upon his 
Ufa. 

The weeks that followed saw no cessation of 
crime, and Warren, unable to control it, realized 
that the situation had become intolerable. Men in 
despair of proper protection from the law were try- 
ing to sell their property and move to safer com- 
munities. At length Warren and three others were 
appointed as a committee to go to Dubuque and con- 
sult Judge Thomas Wilson as to some means of 
checking outlawry in the county. The conference 
resulted in the drawing up of an information charg- 
ing Brown, Fox, Long, and a score of their associ- 
ates with confederating for the purpose of passing 
counterfeit money, committing robbery and other 
crimes and misdemeanors. The information was 
sworn to by Anson Harrington, and a warrant for 
the arrest of the men named was put into the hands 
of Sheriff Warren. Everyone knew that with the 
serving of this warrant a crisis would come in the 
history of Jackson County. 

When Warren first went to the hotel to read the 
warrant to Brown and his men he found Brown in- 
clined to be defiant — disputing the legality of such 
a general instrument — and his associates were 
ready for the most desperate measures. The sheriff 
as he read began to have extreme doubts as to his 
safety and was perhaps only saved from violence by 



20 



THE PALIMPSEST 



the sudden anger which seized the crowd when Har- 
rington 's name was read as the one who had sworn 
to the information. On the instant they dashed off 
to wreak vengeance upon him. Brown turned at 
once to Warren, urging him to go while he could, for 
he knew that Harrington had already sought safety 
on the Illinois shore before the warrant was served, 
and that the mob would soon return disappointed 
and vengeful. Just then Mrs. Brown hurried into 
the room. ^'Run for your life*^ she cried, ^^they 
are coming to kill you, ' ' and she led him to the back 
of the house. 

Warren departed in haste, thoroughly convinced 
that the arrest of the infuriated gang would be a 
desperate task and one requiring careful prepara- 
tion. He determined to organize an armed posse, 
and turned to Thomas Cox for assistance, commis- 
sioning him to visit certain parts of the county and 
bring in a force of forty armed men. The task was 
no doubt a welcome one to Cox. The old warrior 
spirit in him had been aroused by the defiant atti- 
tude of the lawless coterie, and he believed that 
radical measures alone could free the neighborhood 
from the plague of Brown and his gang. 

Warren and Cox set out in different directions 
through the county to gather recruits. Many of the 
settlers, feeling that Brown was an innocent and 
much abused man, refused to move against him. 
But on the morning of April first a considerable 
force was mobilized in the town of Bellevue ready 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 21 



to help the sheriff in arresting the men who had 
made life in the county almost unendurable. 

At the hotel meanwhile there was a similar spirit 
of battle. A desperate and reckless defiance seemed 
to pervade the men. In front of the hotel a red flag 
fluttered and on it the words Victory or Death 
challenged the fiery men of the frontier who had 
gathered there to help make their homes and prop- 
erty safe. Parading up and down beside the flag 
j were members of the gang, among them an Irishman 
1 who at the top of his lungs advised the posse to 
come on if they wanted Hell. The members of the 
j posse — many of them veterans of the Black Hawk 
■ War — did not take kindly to such words of defiance, 
and there was high feeling between the two parties 
I when the sheriff went alone to the hotel to read the 
warrant and demand a surrender. 
The men listened in silence while the sheriff, alone 
, among desperate men, read to them the challenge of 
j the law. Then Brown asked him what he intended 
to do. 

Arrest them alP', replied Warren, ^^as I am 
commanded. * ' 
**That is if you can'^, said Brown. 

There is no *if' about it'^ replied the sheriff. 
^*I have a sufficient force to take you all, if force is 
necessary; but we prefer a surrender, without 
force.'' 

He talked privately with Mr. and Mrs. Brown, and 
showed them letters from various men in the county 



I 

i 

1 



22 THE PALIMPSEST 

advising Brown to surrender and trust to the courts. | 
This the hotel keeper finally agreed to do providing | 
the sheriff and four other men (whom he named) I 
would come and pledge that he and his men should 1 
be unharmed. Warren left and returned shortly 
with the men designated. But in the meantime i 
Brown seemed somewhat to have lost control of af- 
fairs. The four men were ordered away and the 
sheriff alone was admitted for another conference. 

The men in the hotel were now restive with drink 
and no longer inclined to submit to the restraints of 
their leader. Warren w^as to be held as a hostage, 
they told him, and if a shot were fired from outside 
he would be killed at once. He was powerless to 
resist. Minutes of increasing tension went by. 
Then came word from the front of the house that 
Cox and his men were forming in the street for an 
attack. In a last effort to avoid trouble, Brown 
shoved the sheriff out of the house. * ^ Go and stop , 
them and come back'', he said. Warren needed no 
second bidding. 

But the fight was now inevitable. An attacking 
party of forty men was chosen. They were ad- 
dressed by Warren and Cox, told of the seriousness 
of the occasion, and given a chance to withdraw, but 
not a man wavered. It was now early afternoon. 
The noon hour had passed with scarcely a thought 
of food. The town waited in breathless suspense. 

In the neighborhood of the hotel the houses were 
deserted, and far from the scene of action, women 



(WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 23 
and frightened children gathered in groups listening 
intently for the first sound of a gun. And to 
Mitchell, confined in his own home, the acuteness of 
the moment must have been almost unbearable. His 
wish to join the posse had been overruled, but he 
had been given arms so that he might not be helpr- 
lessly murdered in case of the defeat of the sheriff 's 
force. 

In the street the posse was forming. With orders 
not to fire until fired upon, the men started toward 
the hotel. Silently and steadily they moved until 
they were within thirty paces of the house, then came 
an order to charge and with a rush they made for 
the building. The crack of a gun was heard from 
an upstairs window and one of the forty, a black- 
' smith, fell dead. Brown, with his gun at his shoul- 
der, was confronted by Warren and Cox. 
* * Surrender, Brown, and you shan 't be hurt ' \ they 
. called to him. Brown lowered his gun evidently 
I with the intention of complying but it was acciden- 
tally discharged and the ball passed through Cox^s 
coat. 

Then all restraint broke loose. The guns of two of 
the posse barked and Brown fell dead on the instant 
with two bullets in his head. From all points now 
bullets drove into the frame building, and answering 
volleys came from the windows of the hotel. There 
were more than twenty men in the house and with 
them was Mrs. Brown who with unswerving loyalty 
had stood by to load guns. The struggle was des- 



24 



THE PALIMPSEST 



perate. Bursting into the lower floor, engaging in 
hand to hand conflict, the sheriff's men drove the 
defenders upstairs where with pitchforks and guns 
they still defied capture. 

No longer was sheriff, or legislator, or any other 
man in the posse mindful of the law. The primitive 
instincts had escaped bounds and the impulse to kill 
possessed them all. One after another, men on both 
sides crumpled up under fire and lay still. Warren, 
carried away by the excitement and unable to force 
the upper floor, ordered the house to be set on fire, 
and the torch was applied. 

Then the cry arose that the men were trying to 
escape by jumping from a shed at the rear of the 
house. Pursuit was on at the instant but seven of 
the outlaws escaped from the hands of the sheriff's 
men. Thirteen others gave up and were taken pris- 
oners, while three of their number had paid the toll 
of their lives. 

The fight was over but not so the intensity of 
hatred. A number of the invading party had been 
severely wounded and four of them lay dead. The 
sight of their inanimate bodies, when the firing 
ceased, aroused the desire of the posse for instant 
punishment of the captives. 

Eopes were procured and the awful, unthinking cry 
of revenge went up. But saner councils prevailed 
and the prisoners were put under heavy guard while 
it was decided what their fate should be. Warren's 
desire to hold the men for trial by law was, however, 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 25 



overruled on the ground that, the county being with- 
out a jail, there was too much danger of the prison- 
ers being rescued by friends. The settlement of the 
case was finally left until the morning with the 
understanding that a meeting of citizens should im- 
pose sentence upon the prisoners. 

It is doubtful if sleep rested upon the eyelids of 
many in the town of Bellevue that night. Thoughts 
of the toll of the day — the unburied dead — and 
speculations upon the possible toll of the morrow, 
must have made the morning sun long in coming. 
But the surface of the Mississippi reflected its rays 
at last, and the excited villagers tried to compose 
themselves for the events of the day. 

At ten o'clock occurred one of those episodes that 
rise now and then out of the grim frontier. Men 
who had faced a fire that dropped their comrades 
dead at their sides, who with the lust of animals to 
kill had stormed the defenders of the hotel, now 
stood possessed of the men whom they had faced 
along the level gun barrel but a few hours before; 
and it was their task to consider what should be done 
w^ith them. 

Thomas Cox presided at the meeting and stated 
that the citizens had relieved the sheriff of his duty 
and had taken the case into their own hands. Chi- 
chester gained permission to speak on behalf of him- 
self and his comrades; and the man, now greatly 
cowed, made a pitiful plea for mercy. Others spoke 
— among them Anson Harrington who favored 



26 



THE PALIMPSEST 



hanging every one of the prisoners. Fear alone 
made them penitent to-day, he said. Revenge he saw 
depicted on all their faces. Mercy would only jeop- 
ardize the lives of others. But he closed by pro- 
posing that a ballot should be taken as to whether the 
captives should be hanged or merely whipped and 
exiled from the region. 

Every man was required to rise to his feet and 
pledge himself to abide by the decision. Then two 
men, one with a box containing red and white beans, 
the other with an empty box to receive the votes, 
passed about among the company. The man with 
the beans, as he approached each individual, called 
out White beans for hanging, colored beans for 
whipping,'' and the voter selected his bean and 
dropped it into the other box. 

To the thirteen men whose lives depended on the 
color of the beans, those anxious moments while 
eighty men passed sentence upon them probably 
seemed like an eternity. 

White beans for hanging", and a bean rattled 
into the empty box. Those first four words, so bru- 
tal and so oft repeated, must have crowded the com- 
panion call out of their minds. Stripped clear away 
from them was the glow and excitement of the life of 
the past. The inspiriting liquor was not there to 
drown out the stark image of a drooping body and a 
taut rope. The red flush of battle had paled to the 
white cast of fear. No longer upon their faces 
played the contemptuous smile or the leer of defi- 



WHITE BEANS FOR HANGING 



27 



ance. No bold words came to their lips. Their eyes 
scanned the set faces of their captors and into their 
ears dinned the cry, over and over repeated like a 
knell: White beans for hanging''. 

The beans dropped noiselessly now among their 
fellows, and unrelieved was the hush of the men who 
tossed them in. How long it was since the wild 
events of yesterday afternoon ! How near now was 
the choking rope ! 

Yet there was some comfort when they listened to 
the other call. * * Colored beans for whipping. ' ' How 
welcome such an outcome would be ! A week before 
they would have drawn guns at a word of criticism ; 
now they were ready to give thanks for the grace of 
a lashing. But they had robbed these men and given 
them bad money, had taunted them and had killed 
their friends. Could there be any mercy now in 
these grim avengers? Were the white beans for 
hanging'' piling up in the box like white pebbles on 
the shores of their lives ? 

The eightieth man dropped in his bean. The 
tellers counted the votes and reported to Thomas 
Cox. The stillness reached a climax. Holding in 
his hand the result of the ballot, the chairman asked 
the prisoners to rise and hear the verdict. Again he 
asked the men who had voted if they would promise 
their support of the decision. They gave their 
pledge by rising to their feet. Then he read the de- 
cision. By a margin of three the colored beans for 
whipping were in the majority. 



28 



THE PALIMPSEST 



The voice of Anson Harrington rang out. Cox 
called him to order — the case was not debatable. 
But Harrington replied: ^'I rise to make the vote 
unanimous." Immediate applause showed the re- 
vulsion of feeling. Chichester, who was near him, 
took his hand and managed to blurt out his thanks. 

The whipping followed — lashes laid upon the 
bare back and varying in severity with the individ- 
ual. The thirteen men who had so narrowly escaped 
the rope were placed in boats on the Mississippi, 
supplied with three days rations, and made to prom- 
ise never to return. They left at sundown with 
expressions of gratitude for their deliverance; and 
with their departure the town of Bellevue and the 
County of Jackson took up again their more placid 
ways. 

And the thirteen exiles ! It would be a happy task 
to record of them either reformation or oblivion. 
Unfortunately one can do neither. The trail of Wil- 
liam Fox and two others of the Bellevue gang came 
into view five years later when they were implicated 
in the murder of Colonel George Davenport. But 
thereby hangs another tale which we shall not here 
unfold save to record that Fox again escaped cus- 
tody, and fared forth once more upon adventures of 
which there is no record upon the parchment. 

John C. Pakish 



Comment by the Editor 



JOURNALISM AND HISTORy 

**Our historians lie much more than our journal- 
ists'', says Gilbert K. Chesterton. This puts us in a 
i bad light whatever way you take it. In order to de- 
j fend the historian we must acquit the journalist of 
I mendacity, and we fear the jury is packed against 
! him. So we prefer to ask to have the case thrown 
! out of court on the grounds that Mr. Chesterton 
brought the charges merely for the sake of eulogizing 
I a third individual — the artist — as a true recorder 
* of the past. Of which more anon. 

In spite of this implied indictment of journalism, 
we wish to announce that the next issue of The 
Palimpsest will be a Newspaper Number, wherein 
will be disclosed some of the words and ways of the 
early editors. They were often more pugnacious 
than prudent, and since prudence sometimes con- 
ceals the truth, perhaps their pugnacity may be 
; counted as an historical asset. At all events, news- 
i papers can not avoid being more or less a mirror of 
the times, and an adequate history of any people 
i can scarcely be written without an examination of 
its journalism. 

ART AND HISTORY 

But to return to Chesterton. His arraignment of 
' historians and journalists occurs in an introduction 

29 



30 



THE PALIMPSEST 



to Famous Paintings, in the midst of an argument 
for the effectiveness of the work of the old masters 
in popular education and the value of the canvas in 
portraying the real conditions of the past. Nor will 
we gainsay him in this. The artist who goes back of 
his own era for subjects must make a careful his- 
torical study of his period. The style of clothes 
worn by his subjects, the type of furniture or tapes- 
try, and the architecture of the houses and bridges 
and churches of his backgrounds must be accurate. 
He is in that sense an historian as well as an artist, 
and his contribution is truthful or otherwise in pro- 
portion as he has taken the pains to be a competent 
historical student. 

Nevertheless the best of artists and the best of 
historians make mistakes. W e remember the discus- 
sion that arose a few years ago when Blashfield's 
fine canvas was placed in the Capitol at Des Moines. 
It depicts the westward travel of a group of pioneers 
crossing the prairies by means of the ox-drawn prai- 
rie schooner. It is a splendid piece of work, but 
some pioneer who had lived through such scenes and 
knew whereof he spoke observed that Blashfield had 
pictured the driver of the oxen walking on the left 
side of his charges, whereas in reality the driver 
always walked on the other side. True enough as 
Mr. Blashfield himself admitted. Yet there were dif- 
ficulties having to do with the composition of the 
picture. The scene was arranged with the caravan 
moving toward the left or west side of the picture. 



COMMENT 31 

Therefore, if the driver had been properly placed he 
would have been more or less hidden by the oxen — 
an eclipse scarcely to be desired from the standpoint 
of the artist. If the directions had been reversed, 
the canvas would have been criticised as showing the 
group coming out of the west — thus defeating the 
basic idea. 

The last straw of criticism w^as added when an- 
other pioneer, referring to the symbolic figures 
which Blashfield had painted in the upper part of 
the picture hovering above the caravan and leading 
the way to the west, remarked that when he went 
west there were no angels hovering over Ms outfit. 
So we hesitate to accept Mr. Chesterton's implica- 
tion that the artist is more infallible than the his- 
torian or journalist. 

THE EEALM OF THE HISTOEIAN 

But the historian is vitally concerned with the 
question of the accuracy of the artist who paints of 
the past, the essential veracity of the novelist who 
chooses historic settings, and the truthfulness of the 
journalist who, with his editorials, his cartoons, and 
his advertisements, is usually the first to write the 
record of events. In fact the historian must con- 
cern himself with these and all other recorders, for 
the things of the past are the subjects of his par- 
ticular realm and he must keep them in order. 

J. C. P. 




~ * ■ ^^6hn C. Parish" : 

fcl: ' ^ - ■ ''John C^-i^si^H ' ' " 



•The toif or 



Published Monthly At lowACmr Bv 

IHE State HisroRicAi: SqcieiyofIowa ' 



.•:\V."? ■ ■ 



APPLICATION FOR ENTRY AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POST OFFICE AT IOWA CITY IOWA PENDING 



THE PURPOSE OF THIS MAGAZINE 

The Palimpsest, issued monthly by The State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

Ben J. F. Shambaugh 

Superintendent 



THE MEANING OF PALIMPSESTS 

In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the | 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, | 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 



PRICE— I Oc per copy : $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS— The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 



The Palimpsest 

EDITED BY JOHN C. PARISH 
Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. I Issued in August 1920 No. 2 

copyright 1920 BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA 

Newspaper History 

What is the value of yesterday's newspaper? In 
a bygone day it served the thrifty housewife as a 
cover for the kitchen table, or in company with its 
fellows of the days before as a lining for the ingrain 
carpet ; and if the good husband was handy, it might 
on a winter evening be cut into strips and deftly 
rolled into the long slender tapers that stood in the 
tumbler on the shelf beside the Seth Thomas clock 
to be used in carrying the necessary flame from the 
briskly burning hickory wood fire in the air-tight 
stove to the wick of the kerosene oil lamp. 

But in these ultra-modern days of steam heat, 
electric light and power, enamel topped tables, and 
hardwood floors, the newspaper, like the grass, to- 
day is in the field and tomorrow is cast into the 
oven'' ; or it may find its way to the baler in the base- 
ment and presently it is returned to the paper mills 
from whence it came in the endless round of pulp 
and paper and print. 

33 



34 



THE PALIMPSEST 



The average subscriber to that largest circula- 
tion^', which is the daily boast of every newspaper 
of any standing, would probably scoff at the sugges- 
tion that there is anything of real value from the 
standpoint of scientific history in the newspaper; 
and yet we know that the leading historical institu- 
tions of the country are piling up literally tons and 
tons of newspapers. Although their rapid accumu- 
lation presents a very real problem, if not a genuine 
embarrassment to every great historical library, 
thousands of dollars are spent annually in binding 
and properly shelving the newspapers of the day — 
for the use of the historian of the future. 

That there is trouble ahead for the historian we 
will admit. In his endeavors to retrace the foot- 
prints of this present age of black-face type, what is 
to be the criterion of the relative importance of 
news! Does the 120 point headline set forth public 
information that is twice as consequential as the 60 
point, and four times the public concern of that of 
the 30 point 1 Is he to believe as he turns the yellow- 
ing pages of the Iowa newspapers that the news 
^^Ames Defeats Iowa'' was, in the public mind of the 
period, of twice the importance of the news that 

Wartime Coal Eegime Begins", while the news 
that ''2% Beer Gets Hearing" and ^^Mary Pickford 
Divorced ' ' was of twice the importance of the Ames- 
Iowa game and of six times the public concern of 
the war time coal regime? 

How will the historian winnow out the pregnant 



NEWSPAPER HISTORY 



35 



facts that lie buried under bushel-heaps of worth- 
less assertion'^ in an age of censored dispatches, 

doctored stuff prepared dope^', private propa- 
ganda, camouflaged news, and extravagant advertis- 
ing? How will he distinguish the work of the com- 
petent, independent, investigating reporter in the 
record of current topics and passing events from the 
manipulated news of the clever press agent attor- 
ney? How will he treat the deliberately scraped 
and sponged and overlaid palimpsests of this news- 
paper epoch that they may tell the true story that is 
there recorded? 

With due allowance for the extravagant use of 
120 point type, for the insidious press agent and the 
organized manipulation of public opinion and for all 
the fecundity and fallibility which are peculiar to 
journalism**, what is there in these great library 
files of daily newspapers that justifies their preser- 
vation and proper classification? Almost every- 
thing that the student of history wants. For in 
spite of slang- whanging'* and editorial vitupera- 
tion, and the sometimes startling results of ^^the 
carelessness of the compositors and the absent 
mindedness of the readers of proof, in spite of its 
double role of universal advertiser and universal 
purveyor of knowledge ' \ the daily newspaper is the 
best reflector of the times that the student of history 
can find. 

In our own day it has become something of a 
vogue to speak contemptuously of the *4urid press'*, 



36 



THE PALIMPSEST 



tlie scandalous gossip'^ of the ^^brazen-faced re- 
porter'^, the ^ incurable lying habit of the news- 
papers ^'the millionaire-owned press'', and of the 
''A. P." as ^^the damndest, meanest, monopoly on 
the face of the earth". Nevertheless, the daily news- 
paper holds the mirror up to modern society and 
reflects with unflattering faithfulness the life and 
psychology of the times. Old records, official reports 
of events, and the more carefully written and lei- 
surely revised monographic and book literature give 
us the cabinet picture" of the times, with head 
clamped in place ^*a little more to the right, please, 
and chin up", with the pleasant expression" pa- 
tiently held while the photographer counts ofl the 
requisite number of seconds, and with perhaps a final 
smoothing out of wrinkles in the retouching. 

The newspaper, on the other hand, gives us all un- 
consciously the natural record of the every-day life 
of a community, and the snapshots of the times in 
working clothes — ■ which are always the best pic- 
tures. These pictures with all their incongruities, 
vulgarities, and blemishes may not always be pleas- 
ing; but they are, for the most part, speaking like- 
nesses" of the community, with all of its rough- 
ness, pimples, and warts". 

It is the every-day newspaper snapshot that gives 
us the local color in the description of passing events, 
the dominant passions and prejudices in the discus- 
sion of current topics, the sudden disclosure of pop- 
ular temper and sentiment in the acceptance or 



I 

NEWSPAPER HISTORY 37 

rejection of political issues, and that preserves im- 
perishably the fashion prevailing for posterity to 
look upon with reverence or a smile The testi- 
mony of gossipy letters and memoirs no longer goes 
unchallenged and the critical reviewer of historical 
monographs now scrutinizes the footnotes to see 
whether the writer has made use of the newspapers 
of the period. 

For a concrete illustration, let us take the news- 
papers not of the present day nor of the remote past, 
but of eighty years ago in our own Commonwealth. 
The Iowa newspaper of 1840 was a very modest af- 
fair — innocent of the glaring headlines of the 
j extras'', innocent of cartoons, half-tones, the won- 
drous depiction of Wilson's Boiled Ham" and 
Sunshine Biscuits", or the adventures of Mr. 
I Jiggs ; but we find abundant material in every f our- 
j page issue concerning the three chief phases of the 
j life of the people which constitute their history — 
■ the social life, the political life, and the industrial 
life. 

Eighty years ago Iowa City was the capital of the 
Territory of Iowa, and the two leading newspapers 
of the early forties were the Iowa Capitol Reporter, 
! the Democratic organ", and the loiva Standard, 
; the Whig journal — the Reporter being referred to, 
I by the Standard, as the ^^Locofoco Rag", and the 
Standard being referred to, by the Reporter, as the 
' ' Whiggery Humbug ' '. These old files of the ' ' Rag ' ' 
i and the Humbug" fairly bristle with information 



38 



THE PALIMPSEST 



concerning the life of the period — the beginnings of j 
church life, the character of the schools, the amnse- | 
ments, the reading matter, the follies, hopes, ambi- ! 
tions, and ideals of the people of the community. 

We read, for example, that on two Sundays, in j 
January, 1841, the Methodists held services with 
frontier camp meeting fervor in the open air near 
the post-office on some lumber belonging to John 
Horner. The Baptists with equal fervor buried in 
baptism'' two candidates for membership beneath 
the limpid waters of the Iowa River''. 

The opening of a private school is noted: Tui- 
tion per Quarter of 12 weeks $3.50. House rent, fuel, 
etc. 1.00 additional." There is mention of a school 
for Young Ladies with special emphasis on instruc- 
tion in Reading, Writing, and Mental Arithmetic. 
History — Sacred, Profane, Ecclesiastical and Nat- 
ural. Natural, Moral and Intellectual Philosophy." 

We note the laying of the corner stone of Mechan- 
ics ' Academy, which afterwards became the first 
home of the State University. Both Democratic and 
Whig papers urge special training for agricultural 
and mechanical employment. Agriculture ", says 
the editor of the Reporter, *4s the noblest pursuit of 
man and we deplore the fact that so large a part of 
our new country has given itself up to visionary 
projects of speculation." 

**A course of lessons in Music" is announced ac- 
cording to the Pestallozian system of instruction." 
A Glee Club, it is said, **will bring out a new set of 



NEWSPAPER HISTORY 



39 



glees for the approaching election.'' A lecture in 
the Legislative Council Chamber on Astronomy" 
is reported. *^The lecturer's remarks", we are told, 
**were within the comprehension of the humblest in- 
tellect." There are notices of camp meetings, and 
lyceum and literary association meetings which the 
ladies of Iowa City and its vicinity are especially 
requested to attend. 

The citizens are requested *^to turn out and attend 
a meeting of the Temperance Society in the school 
house at early candle light". The cause of temper- 
ance was popular in the pioneer days of the forties, 
and there are many notices of meetings of the Wash- 
ingtonians and the Total Abstinence Society. 

Public dinners were given to honor public men, 
and Fourth of J uly celebrations held with the ladies 
four abreast taking their place behind the officer of 
the day. Cotillion figures are described and balls 
recorded. One comes upon many newspaper apos- 
trophes ^^To the Ladies" (who were scarce on the 
frontier) ; and there was much writing of poetry. 

There are records of marriages and deaths, elope- 
ments and house-raisings, and a list of river acci- 
dents and steamboat disasters. A citizen announces 
he will no longer be responsible for his wife Hulda's 
debts. There are notices of claim sales, of petitions 
for bankruptcy, and of the foreclosures of mort- 
gages. In short, bits of the sunshine and shadows of 
the every day life of the period are recorded with an 
unconsciousness that gives them special value. 



40 THE PALIMPSEST 

The political life of eighty years ago is reflected 
far more than it is to-day on the editorial page. 
This page has, as it no doubt will ever have, its prob- 
lems for the student of history. In these early news- 
papers of the first capital he finds the Whig editor 
variously referred to by his esteemed contemporary 
as ^Hhat miserable caricature of his species'', **the 
contemptible slang- whanger of the Standard'', and 
*'that biped of the neuter gender whose name stands 
at the mast head of that servile truckling organ of 
Whig skullduggery ' '. He finds numerous references 
in the Standard to the ^^Bombastes Furioso" and to 
the ''red hair and spectacles of the Loco-foco scrib- 
bler", to the ''hybrid politician who furnishes the 
wind for the Reporter' \ and to "the thing which 
says it edits that filthy and demagogical sluice of 
Loco-focoism, the Reporter''. He finds national as 
well as local issues treated with uncompromising 
thoroughness and partisanship. He finds scorching 
editorials on "The Tottering Fabric of Federalism" 
on the one hand, and bitter denunciation of "Loco- 
foco. Black-guardism" on the other. "Iowa" is re- 
ferred to by the Reporter as "the apex of the Noble 
Pyramid of Democracy"; and the Standard replies, 
"Whew dont we blow a shrill horn". The Standard 
declares that Democracy leads logically to a disso- 
lution of the Union, to which the Reporter replies : 

Bow wow wow 

Whose dog are thou? 

I'm Henry Clay's Dog 

Bow wow wow. 



NEWSPAPER HISTORY 



41 



The Legislative Assembly meets, and the Standard 
calls attention to the fact that the Committee on 
Public Printing is composed of only four members 
and every one of them most bitter and uncompro- 
mising Locos ' * ' Nothing good ' it adds, * ' was an- 
ticipated from them and the result has precisely 
answered the expectations. ' ' To which the Reporter 
replies that **the people of Iowa have had enough of 
the yelps and whines of the Standard puppy on the 
subject of Extravagance in Public Printing*'. 

A Whig leader in the Council makes a speech and 
the Reporter remarks that *4t is the poorest wheel 
of a wagon that always creaks the loudest. ' * 

There are editorials and communications on Aboli- 
tion, Tariff and Free Trade, The Eight of Petition, 
The Preemption Law, State Banks, Retrenchment 
and Eeform, Bribery and Corruption, Resumption 
of Specie Payment, Cider Barrels and Coon Skins. 
One correspondent thinks too much pressure is being 
brought upon him to vote. do not like to be 
drove ' \ he explains with genuine Iowa independence, 
**I can be led but can not be drove. 

What is there here for the student of political his- 
tory! A mine of information. No miner expects to 
find his gold ready for the jeweler's hands. Much 
labor is required to free it from base metal. And so 
the student of political history will clear away vitu- 
peration and partisanship, personalities, and *Hhe 
shorter and uglier words ' \ and find nuggets of valu- 
able material in this collection. 



42 



THE PALIMPSEST 



In like manner advertisements reflect sometMng of 
the industrial life of the period. The rise, and yea 
the fall, of infant industries in the Territory, the 
occupations of the early settlers, the degree of spe- 
cialization in the trades, labor organizations, wages 
— all these and more one is able to portray from the 
paid advertisements. Either space was more valu- 
able in those days or there was less money to pay for 
it, for with very few exceptions these advertisements 
consist of from five to eight line notices to the public 
signed by the merchant or mechanic himself. 

The public is informed that **a ferry across the 
Mississippi Eiver at Bloomington, Iowa Territory, 
has been established and as soon as the river is free 
from ice next spring a boat will be in operation.'' 
There are proposals for carrying the *^mail of the 
United States from Bloomington to Iowa City thirty 
miles and back once a week.'' Territorial scrip is 
taken in payment (at par) for all articles at a cer- 
tain store. Elsewhere Dubuque money will be ac- 
cepted at five per cent discount. Just received per 
Steamer Eapids the following Groceries ' ', reads one 
advertisement, Boxes Tobacco. 40 bbls. New 
Orleans Molasses. 30 Sacks Eio & Havana Coffee 
13 bbls. Eum, Gin & Whiskey. 25 Sacks Ground 
Alum Salt & 16 Kegs Pittsburg White Lead." A 
variety of * ^ spring goods ' ' is advertised as received 
by the Steam Boats Mermaid, Agnes & Illinois", 
including Bales of Buffalo Eobes, Jeans & Lin- 
seys, Merinoes & Bombazines, Fancy and Mourning 



NEWSPAPER HISTORY 



43 



Calicoes, Boots & Brogans, Salaratus, Tobacco, Loaf 
& Brown Sugar. Fashionable Hats & Crockery.'* 
Eaft of Hewed Oak Timber is offered for sale. 
A remedy for fever and ague is recommended. A 
hotel with the **best of table and stables'' offers its 
services. So does a * ^ Portrait & Miniature Painter ' 
A bricklayer announces that he has arrived in the 
Territory. A partnership is formed in the plaster- 
ing business. Eight lawyers and nine doctors re- 
spectfully call the attention of a community of six 
hundred souls to their existence; and we note the 
beginnings of the Doctors' Trust" in the following 
published rate of charges as adopted at a meeting of 
the physicians held in Bloomington on the fifth of 



February, 1841: 

First visit in town in the daytime 1.00 

Every succeeding visit .50 

Visit in the night time 1.50 

Bleeding 1.00 

Tooth extracting 1.00 

Attention on a patient all day or 

night by request 5.00 



In addition to the Doctors' Trust" there were 
those who practiced the healing art"; and one 
Botanic Physician advertises that ^Hhe remedial 
agents employed for the removal of disease will be 
innocuous vegetables. ' ' 

The arrival of the Steamboat Eipple", the first 
boat to reach Iowa City, is announced; and in an 
editorial it is learned that its arrival was witnessed 



44 



THE PALIMPSEST 



by a delighted throng of four hundred. The event 
was celebrated by ^*as good a dinner as has ever 
been gotten up in the Territory/' This convincing 
proof of the navigability of the Iowa Eiver was 
prophesied as the ^'turning point in the commercial 
life of the first Capital. 

An enterprising farmer makes eighty gallons of 
molasses ready to sugar from corn stalks, and this is 
regarded as the beginning of an important industry 
in this new country. A *4oad of lead'' fourteen feet 
below the surface is discovered on the banks of the 
Iowa Elver, and in the excitement and local enthusi- 
asm which followed, the editor of the Standard de- 
clares that Nothing better could have happened to 
make this section of the country and especially Iowa 
City, a perfect Eldorado, than the discovery which 
has been made in Johnson County. It has, ever since 
the settlement of this county, been believed, that it 
abounded with immense mineral of various kinds. 
Several townships of land west of Iowa City, we are 
told, were returned to the General Land Office as 
mineral lands. This must form a new era in the his- 
tory and existence of Iowa City. ' ' 

Incidentally from a survey of news items, edito- 
rials, and advertisements, one gathers something of 
the early history of the press itself and something of 
the trials and vexations of the early editor. That ye 
editor of eighty years ago was more than the ^^slang- 
whanger" and the biped of the neuter gender" his 
contemporary would lead us to believe, we learn 



NEWSPAPER HISTORY 



45 



from the versatility of his weekly contributions. In 
addition to pointing ont the ^ ^ skullduggery ' ' and the 

venom and impotent malignity of the opposite 
party, and his weekly combat on Abolitionism, Fed- 
eralism, Our Legislature, The Public Printing, and 
Banking, he writes of Flowers, Sympathy, The Wed- 
ding, The American Girl, Winter Evenings, Setting 
Out in Life, The Progress of a Hundred Years, The 
Bunker Hill Monument, Christmas, and New Year's 
Musings. He observes that ^^true politeness is not a 
matter of mere form of manner but of sentiment and 
hearf He maintains that * Virtue and honesty are 
better recommendations for a husband than dol- 
lars.'' He deplores **the senseless rage for gentil- 
ity", *'the silly ambition of figuring in a higher 
station than that to which we belong", *Hhe folly of 
sacrificing substance to show", and of mistaking 
crowd for society". 

The editor threatens to publish the list of delin- 
quent subscribers; and he denounces the borrowing 
of a neighbor's paper as unworthy of a citizen of 
this promising country. The scarcity of money is re- 
flected in the editor's offers to take produce of any 
and every kind in exchange for subscriptions to his 
paper ; and he demands the delivery of the wood that 
**a certain gentleman not a thousand miles from a 
neighboring town promised him last month ". * ^ It is 
the height of folly", he adds, ''to tell an editor to 
keep cool when he has to burn exchange papers to 
keep warm." Finally, the editor takes a bold stand 



46 



THE PALIMPSEST 



and declares that candidates for office wlio wish 
their names announced for office will hereafter ac- 
company such notices with two dollars cash for trou- 
ble, wear of type, etc. ' ' 

In spite of times being **so hard that you can 
catch pike on -the naked hook'', the paper is en- 
larged at several dollars extra expense but will be 
afforded at the same low price as the small one has 
been.'' 

A Democratic postmaster is warned that ^*the 
packages of Whig papers (which we ourselves de- 
liver at the post office every Friday evening at 6 
o'clock) are not so minute as to be imperceptible, 
and are not hereafter to be delayed by party malice. 
If they are, just wait till the 4th of March — that 's 
all!" 

The loiva Farmers and Miners Journal is an- 
nounced ; and Godey's Magazine is noted by the press 
of Iowa as *Hhe only magazine intended for the 
perusal of females that is edited by their own sex." 

Such are some of the glimpses we get of the life, 
of the politics, and of the industries of eighty years 
ago — of the hopes and ambitions, the prejudices and 
animosities, the plans and activities, the successes 
and disappointments of the early lowan — gleaned 
from a file of old newspapers. And so we make our 
acknowledgments to the newspapers of to-day and 
lay them carefully away in fire-proof quarters for 
the student of another generation. 

Bertha M. H. Shambaugh 



An Old-Time Editorial Dialogue 

Pkologue 

Pied long ago was the type that first carried this 
exchange of civilities. And many years have passed 
since the two principals in the wordy duel were laid 
away to rest, each with his vocabulary at his side. 
But the ghost of the duel still flutters in the old 
sheets of the newspaper files. Let the ghost tell its 
tale. 

Scene 

The frontier town of Iowa City, capital of the Ter- 
ritory of Iowa. 

Time 

The early forties, when men wore their politics 
like chips upon their shoulders and established 
arsenals beneath their coat tails — with reference to 
the printing office, the good old days when the mili- 
tant editor got out a weekly four page sheet, with 
the assistance of an industrious but soiled and un- 
washable printer's devil, a ditto towel, a dog-eared 
and now vanished dictionary of classical vitupera- 
tion, and a **hell box'' where the used-up type, ex- 
hausted by being made the vehicle of ultra vigorous 
language, fell into an early grave. 

Charactees 

William Crum — a young editor of twenty-two 
years — possessed of a hair-trigger pen and an ink- 
well full of expletives, a vast admiration for the pil- 

47 



48 



THE PALIMPSEST 



lars of the Whig party, and no respect at all for the 
Democratic editors of the Territory of Iowa. Under 
his supervision the loiva City Standard upholds the 
views of William Henry Harrison and Henry Clay 
and hurls peppery paragraphs at the awful record 
of the Democrats who happen to hold the whip hand 
in the Territory. 

Ver Planck Van Antwerp — educated at West 
Point and by courtesy called General — dignified and 
serious, arrayed in boiled shirt and starched collar 
and gold spectacles — an old school Democrat of 
**an age now verging upon the meridian of life.'' 
He, too, is an editor and has in his time pealed out 
sonorous messages through long columns of the 
Democratic press. 

Enter Mr. Crum followed some time later hy 
the General 

Using the words of one of his exchanges, Mr. 
Crum soliloquizes: 

There is, somewhere in the Territory of Iowa, 
one * General' V. P. Van Antwerp, who .... is 
much in the habit of making long-winded speeches, 
as frothy as small beer and as empty as his head." 

Soon he becomes aware that the said General Van 
Antwerp has arrived at Iowa City and become the 
editor of the Iowa Capitol Reporter ^ and the solil- 
oquy becomes a dialogue. In somewhat over two 
columns the General makes his announcement and 
closes with this glowing peroration : 



AN OLD-TIME EDITORIAL DIALOGUE 49 



^^To every tenet in the Democratic faith as promul- 
gated by J efferson, J ackson, Van Buren, and Benton, 
the four most shining lights among the multitudes of 
its distinguished advocates, I heartily subscribe; and 
stand ready now, as I have ever done, to devote my 
best energies to their support. 

**In those tenets I have been taught from early 
childhood, with it instilled and impressed upon my 
mind, to consider their effects upon the destinies of 
mankind as second in importance to naught else save 
the Christian religion itself; and, resting firmly 
under this belief, regardless of the consequences, or 
of the course of others, and come what may, adver- 
sity or prosperity, gloom or glory, weal or woe, I 
shall continue, while God spares my life, to do battle 
in the good and glorious cause ! ' ' 

Mr. Crum falls upon this bit of oratory with great 
glee and satire: ^*an inaugural, and signed by My 
Lord Pomposity, Ver Planck himself'^; and with 
alternate quotations and jeers he pokes fun at his 
new rival, *Hhis West Point dandy in gold specta- 
cles!'' 

The General is aroused, and in his second issue 
proclaims that **any charge in the slightest degree 
implicating our character, will not be suffered to 
pass by unheeded. 

**But in regard to the wretched demagogical slang, 
which is the sole aliment upon which a certain class 
of men subsist, we laugh to scorn both it and its 
authors, confident that they can no more affect us, 



50 



THE PALIMPSEST 



with those whose respect we value, than would the 
Billingsgate of the fisherwomen, in whose school they 
were bred, and whose style they copy." 

Crum is happy. He heads his columns with the 
quotation from Van Antwerp in regard to ^*any 
charge in the slightest degree implicating our char- 
acter'', and then proceeds to make charges which 
would seem to come within the category indicated. 
He arraigns his record as a printer of the legislative 
records and says, when it stirs the General to wrath : 

'^That little ^ThumdomadaP [a term Van Ant- 
werp had applied to Crum] might point its finger of 
condemnation to his false Democracy, and hold up 
to public gaze his rotten and corrupt political form, 
which shone through the veil of assumed dignity like 
rotten dog-wood in pitch-darkness ; but let it touch 
his pocket, although replenished from the People's 
money, and hyena-like growls will issue in rabid 
fury, and in maniac-like distraction, from his trou- 
bled spirit. The jackall, an indigenous animal of 
Africa, noted for his want of sagacity and his innate 
predatory disposition, it is said will yell most furi- 
ously to his fraternal flock at a distance, whilst he is 
in the poultry coop of the farmer committing his 
usual havocs, and thereby rouse to his own great 
danger the farmer and the neighborhood, who repair 
to the coop and relieve the poultry of their fell de- 
stroyer. So it is with this West Point jackall, in 
relation to the public printing. ' ' He ends by saying 
that the military gentleman has not learned any 



AN OLD-TIME EDITORIAL DIALOGUE 51 



branch of the merchanic arts **and has therefore 
taken to the trade of lying*'. 

But Van Antwerp is inclined to stand upon his 
dignity. He answers one outburst of the Standard 
by saying, * * of course our sheet shall not be polluted 
by replying to it. ' ' And again the doughty General 
remarks : 

'^We would be the last to reproach the memory of 
the mother who bore him in an unlucky hour, with 
the frailties of her worthless son. Here we take 
leave of him before the public forever 

^'It would be ungenerous, after the heavy battery 
has been silenced, the guns spiked and the carriages 
broken, to transfix the trembling, blackened form of 
the inoffensive powder-monkej^ When the larger 
hound bays still deeper in the forest the feeble cur 
will receive very little attention. ' ' 

Meanwhile other editors have interjected a word 
or two into the dialogue and been editorially cuffed 
by Crum or the General. The Burlington Gazette, 
hurrying to the rescue of Democracy, observes : 

^*The public are generally ignorant of the fact, 
that, under the title of the *Iowa City Standard,' a 
sickly, little blue sheet, of the thumbpaper size, by 
courtesy called newspaper . . . . is weekly is- 
sued at the seat of government ; yet it is even so." 

Then after commenting on the insignificance of 
the Standard, the editor falls back upon the popular 
canine metaphor : 

*^It will do well enough on proper occasions to 



i 



52 THE PALIMPSEST 'I 

j 

notice the federal mastiffs ; but the curs, whose voca- i ' 
tion it is to do the barking, should be passed by with S 
neglect akin to that usually extended to their canine | 
prototype/' j 

The *^cur'' turns aside only long enough to utter \ 
this philosophic bark: *^The mere shadow of a man | 
who clandestinely presides over the editorial depart- ? 
ment of the Burlington Gazette, attempts to be very • 
severe upon us for our notices of that Bombastes : 
Furioso of the Eeporter. Now, we consider the hu- i 
mid vaporings of this, or any other, individual, who j 
so far descends from the dignity of a man as to fol- \ 
low, puppy like, at the heels of Ver Planck Van { 
Antwerp, as too contemptible to notice''. ! 

Upon the editor of the Bloomington Herald he j 
wastes even less attention. \ 

' ^ The editor of the above print is greatly troubled • 
about the editorials of the Standard. Get out of the i 
way, man ! You are not worth the ammunition that 
would kill you off. " 

A little later, however, he gives voice to his con- 
tempt for the whole array of Democrats. 

^'Why in the name of all that is sensible, don't the 
Loco-f oco papers here and hereabouts, shut up shop 
— retire — back out — or float down the Mississippi 
on a shingle % — .... Such another unmitigated 
set of vegetables .... we imagine could not be 
raked up in any other quarter of the land. Here is 
the ^lowa Capitol Eeporter' — bless your soul, — 
with a title that rolls over ones tongue like the tones 



AN OLD-TIME EDITORIAL DIALOGUE 53 



of a big bass drum ; a bloated, empty, echoing thing, 
that hasn^t been guilty of propagating an original 
idea for the last three months .... And then 
j there is the ^Bloomington Herald,^ a little fiddling 
fice-dog affair, to which the * Reporter' tosses 
parched peas and pebble stones, to be flung back at 
us. That establishment never had an idea at all . . 
. . Next we have the ^Territorial Gazette,' with 
seven editors and two ideas — both unavailable. 
But the Hawkeye must attend to that concern. — 
Then there is the ^Sun' — a little poverty stricken 
affair, 'no bigger as mine thumb' — at Davenport. 
It was for a long time published on a half sheet, and 
now it is a size less than that .... Again we re- 
peat, what do they live for? Is it because their 
' friends won't be at the cost of a coffin? Die, bank- 
rupts — die. You are * stale, flat and unprofitable ' — 
worse than cold corn dodger without salt. ' ' 

The duel of words at Iowa City becomes constantly 
more spirited. The proud aloofness of the General 
gradually gives way before the constant and wasp- 
like attacks of William Crum. Especially does he 
become wrought up by a charge that he rolled about 
I in a coach that should go to pay his debts. The ref- 
1 erence to the debts makes comparatively little im- 
I pression; but the coach, that is a different matter. 
With great vigor the exponent of Democracy denies 
that he ever rolled in a coach except perhaps at the 
invitation of some friend or in a common stage coach. 
! Likewise the charge that he is in the habit of wear- 



54 THE PALIMPSEST 

ing silk gloves disturbs him. He never wears silk 
gloves, lie maintains, except at public balls or 
parties ; and even these are knit by a member of his 
family, out of common saddlers silk. 

One can imagine him writhing uncomfortably, and 
nervously adjusting his cravat and his gold spec- 
tacles as he reads these terrible charges. Piqued by 
William Crum's constant use of the term **My Lord 
Pomposity and other such nicknames, he retorts by 
characterizing the editor of the Standard as Silly 
Billy'' and '^the last crum of creation 

Both men in the heat of the controversy lose sight 
of the rules of grammar. 

**We were not aware,'' says Van Antwerp, until 
the last Standard appeared, that it looked suspicious 
for any one to visit the capitol as often as they seen 
fit." 

And Crum bursts forth in answer to an item in 
the Reporter: 

**The black hearted villain who composed it knew 
that it was a lie when he done so." 

Finally the stings of his twenty-two year old oppo- 
nent so enrage Ver Planck Van Antwerp that he 
throws dignity to the winds. The slang- whanging 
and blackguard articles of *The Standard' " have 
made a demand **of anybody who may at this time 
answer for the editorship" of the Reporter. And in 
elephantine fury he replies : 

**Now we tell the puppy who wrote that article 
that he knows, as every body else knows here, who 



AN OLD-TIME EDITORIAL DIALOGUE 55 



are the Editors of this paper; and that they are 
ready at all times to answer any 'demand' (?) that 
he or his fellows may think proper to make of them 
.... But how is it with regard to the vagabond 
concern that thus alludes to themf Who is the 
author of the mass of putridity, and villainous scur- 
rility, that is weekly thrown before the public 
j through the columns of that blackguard sheet? 

**That it is not its nominal proprietor, the gawhey 
boy Crum, who is a pitiful tool in the hands of others, 
j and incapable of framing together correctly three 
consecutive sentences, is of course notorious to every 
, body here ; as is the additional fact that it does not 
1 proceed from the other milk-and-water creature 
I recently imported into the concern . . . 
: And he charges wildly along, in his wrath stum- 
bling into language that is not here printable. 

But it is the GeneraPs swan song. About a month 
later his name disappears from the head of the sheet. 
Now and again in the history of early Iowa we see 
his form stalking through other roles, but his duel 
with Silly Billy'' Crum is over. 

That young man remains, triumphant, but per- 
haps, too, a little disconcerted at the removal of his 
friend the enemy, for not again will he find a foe who 
will make so admirable a target for his jests, his 
epithets, and his satire. Pen in hand he moves off 
stage to the right seeking whom he may attack. 

Curtain 

John C. Parish 



Three Men and a Press 



On tlie west bank of the Mississippi where Julien 
Dubuqne, lead miner of the Mines of Spain'', had 
lived and died there grew up about 1830 a settlement 
known as the Dubuque Lead Mines. In the midst of 
miners' cabins and saloons appeared stores and 
churches, and finally one enterprising citizen de- 
cided that the town needed a newspaper. 

So this man, J ohn King, went back to Ohio, whence 
he had come, and bought a printing press. And he 
hired two assistants. One was William Gary J ones, 
a Whig, who was to help him edit the paper. The 
other was Andrew Keesecker, a typesetter and a 
Democrat. 

The three men and the press mobilized in a two- 
story log-house, and on May 11, 1836, they issued the 
first newspaper in what is now Iowa. It bore the 
name of The Dubuque Visitor and carried the head- 
ing Dubuque Lead Mines, Wisconsin Territory", 
— which announcement was more progressive than 
truthful for Wisconsin Territory had not yet been 
born. The little settlement was still a part of the 
Territory of Michigan, although a bill to create the 
Territory of Wisconsin was before Congress when 
the sheet appeared. 

History, however, soon vindicated their prophecy 
and the heading stood. Being the only paper in the 

56 



THREE MEN AND A PRESS 57 



region it served all factions. King himself was a 
Democrat, while both parties were represented by 
his assistants. In the columns of the Visitor ap- 
peared the announcements of rival candidates for 
office, long-winded and labored. A Voter'' and ^^A 
Candidate'' took opposite stands on the question of 
holding a nominating convention. ^ ^ Incognito ' ' and 
^^Curtius" and Hawk-Eye" and other less modest 
contributors ran the gamut of newspaper eulogy 
and denunciation. Altogether this four page sheet 
was a unique and interesting organ and a worthy 
pioneer in the field of newspaperdom. In 1837 the 
name was changed to the Iowa News and it became 
a Democratic journal. Later it was succeeded by 
the Miners^ Express, whose lineal descendant is the 
Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. 

But let us follow a little further the fortunes of 
the three men and their faithful servant, the press. 
John King remained in Dubuque, a newspaper man, 
a judge, and later a retired and prosperous burger. 

William Gary J ones, who had been hired by King 
at three hundred and fifty dollars, ^^with suitable 
board and lodging during one year", passed on to 
other fields. He edited and published a paper in 
New Orleans, and later practiced law in San Fran- 
cisco. He served in the Civil War as a captain in 
the Union Army and was captured and held in 
prison for some time at Selma, Alabama. He and 
his fellow prisoners, not content with the Selma Re- 
porter, which was smuggled in to them nearly every 



58 



THE PALIMPSEST 



day by a friendly cook's assistant, decided to edit a 
paper of their own, which they printed by hand upon 
the walls of one of the rooms. J ones was the editor 
and he was assisted by talented artists among his 
fellow officers. The paper had an elaborate vignette, 
composed of a Southerner, a slave. King Cotton, 
and numerous reptiles. Each number had an illus- 
tration, articles, and advertisements, all of which 
furnished much amusement to men who were pun- 
ished more by ennui than by their captors. 

Andrew Keesecker, like his patron John King, re- 
mained in Dubuque. ^ He served on various news- 
papers, setting type for over a third of a century. 
He was one of those rare individuals who could com- 
pose an editorial as he set it up in type, without 
reducing it to manuscript; and he acquired a great 
reputation as a rapid typesetter. Once he engaged 
in a typesetting contest with A. P. Wood, another 
Dubuque printer and publisher. 

With a printer's devil as umpire they began at a 
signal to set up the words of the Lord's Prayer. 
Keesecker finished first and according to arrange- 
ments, started to announce his success by calling out 
the last word. Unfortunately he had a curious habit 
of stuttering which seemed to increase under excite- 
ment. So while he was vainly endeavoring to bring 
out the triumphant word, Wood also finished and 
cut into his stumbling efforts with an incisive 
**Amen"; whereupon Keesecker, recovering his 
voice, insisted that he had been trying to say that 



THREE MEN AND A PRESS 



59 



word for half an hour. The perplexed referee finally 
gave the award to Kee seeker. 

There remains the story of the press itself. It was 
a Washington hand press, made in Cincinnati by 
Charles Mallet. For about six years it did yeoman 
service in Dubuque. Then it was removed to Lan- 
caster in western Wisconsin where H. A. Wiltse used 
it in printing the Grant County Herald, A few years 
later, J. N. Goodhue determined to print the first 
newspaper in Minnesota, and he bought the press, 
carried it by ox team up the Mississippi on the ice to 
St. Paul and used it to print the Minnesota Pioneer. 

From this point on, the press seems to have had a 
dual personality. In two different States its re- 
mains are reverently guarded, and two State His- 
torical Societies cling firmly, each to its own story 
of the later career of the old iron pioneer. 

In accordance with one story the press had in its 
varied life acquired a wanderlust and leaving the 
haunts of comparative civilization it went westward 
in 1858, by ox team again, across the prairies and 
through the woods to the settlement at Sioux Falls 
on the Big Sioux Eiver where it printed the Dakota 
Democrat, the first newspaper in Dakota. But its 
end came in 1862. In that year the Sioux Indians 
were on the war path. They raided and burned the 
town, and the deserted old press, warped and twisted 
by the fire, found its career of a quarter of a century 
ended in a typically pioneer fashion. And to-day in 
the Masonic Museum at Sioux Falls can be seen the 



60 THE PALIMPSEST 

remnants of an old hand press that Dakotans point ! 
to with pride as the one which printed the first news- 
paper in three different Commonwealths. 

But the Minnesota Historical Society maintains 
that the press which migrated to South Dakota was 
an altogether different press from the one which 
printed the Dubuque Visitor and the Minnesota 
Pioneer^ and that John King's old iron servant 
remained to the end of its days in Minnesota. Ac- 
cording to this version, when the Pioneer became a 
daily, the hand press was supplanted by a power 
press ; and it moved, in 1855, from St. Paul to Sauk 
Rapids, Minnesota, where it produced the Sauh Rap- 
ids Frontiersman, and later the New Era. In after 
years it printed the St. Cloud Union, the Sauk Cen- 
ter Herald, and various other papers of central 
Minnesota. From 1897 to 1899 it served the pub- 
lishers of a Swedish paper at Lindstrom, Minnesota. 
Finally, in 1905 the old press was purchased by the 
Pioneer Press Company and presented to the Minne- 
sota Historical Society, where it can be seen by those 
who love historic antiques. 

Whichever may be the correct version of the later 
years of this veteran press, its career is a notable 
one; and the fact remains undisputed that the jour- 
nalism of at least two different States, Iowa and 
Minnesota, began with the movement of the lever of 
the old hand press that J ohn King brought out from 
Ohio in 1836 to the lead mines on the west bank of 
the Mississippi. Johit C. Pakish. 



Comment by the Editor 

UNCONSCIOUS HISTORIANS 

Blessed is the man who writes history uncon- 
sciously — who has other occupations and other 
purposes in life, yet leaves without realizing it a 
record often more illuminating, because more direct, 
than that of the formal historian. 

To a large extent the newspaper man falls in this 
class. His mind is preoccupied with the present. 
Day before yesterday is out of his realm — so is the 
day after tomorrow. It is for his evening sub- 
scribers that he writes his editorials, recounts his 
news, and sets forth his advertisements ; but the his- 
torian a half century later rejoices as he reads in 
the old sheets the political spirit of the time,- the 
fresh account of current events, and the intimate 
presentation of the food and clothing and accesso- 
ries of life of his grandfather. 

Most pamphleteers and many propagandists and 
some diarists are unconscious historians. In letters 
preserved in attics, in old photographs and views of 
buildings and towns, in railroad time-tables and in 
maps and advertising literature we find history un- 
consciously and invaluably recorded. 

AN OLD ATLAS 

The other day we came across an old atlas of 
Iowa, published in 1875. We remember the book 

61 



62 



THE PALIMPSEST 



from our boyhood days when we used to pore over 
it by the hour. Dog-eared was the leaf where spread 
the map of the old home county, with every creek 
and patch of wood and swamp, and every jog in the 
road clearly shown. All the farm houses were indi- 
cated by tiny rectangles with the name of the farmer 
alongside. Here and there were microscopic draw- 
ings of schoolhouses and churches; and mills and 
blacksmith shops and cemeteries each had their sym- 
bols until the whole page was luminous with land- 
marks. These maps were meant for contemporary 
use, not for the historian of years to come. Yet how 
graphic is this record of the countryside in 1875. 

And how we fed our eyes upon the pictures with 
which these pages of maps were interlarded. Here 
the artist and lithographer had nobly portrayed 
Iowa. We found the residences of the leading citi- 
zens of our town — and of other towns. There were 
pictures without end of farm residences in every 
county in the State. Everywhere trim wooden 
fences enclosed those gabled houses of half a century 
ago, and almost everywhere the lightning-rod sales- 
man had made his visit. 

Then there were the pages that showed forth the 
State institutions. The three modest buildings of 
the State University of Iowa were far outshone by 
the magnificent facades of the insane asylums. 
Happily in the intervening years the State has come 
to realize that it pays to put better stuff in the 
making of a citizen and so save on repair work. 



COMMENT BY THE EDITOR 63 



The book was listed as an historical atlas because 
of the pages of formal history in the back. But this 
material is easily found in other places. The his- 
torical data of prime importance was that which the 
atlas makers presented with no idea of recording 
history — the detailed maps of the counties in 1875, 
and the pictures of the homes and business houses 
and public institutions of a day that is gone. 

IDEALS OF 1875 

To be sure, one must make allowance for certain 
distortions due to State and community pride. For 
example, in the pictures of Iowa farms there were 
pigs, large and round, who did not wallow or lie 
asleep in the mud, but stalked about in stately and 
dignified fashion or gazed reflectively at the gigantic 
cows, who, disdaining the grass, stood at attention 
in the foreground. The horses were of the prancing 
variety with upraised hoof and everflowing mane 
and tail. They drew brand new wagons up the road, 
or buggies in which rode be-parasolled and curiously 
dressed ladies. 

I used to wonder why cattle and horses and hogs 
were always drawn with their fat profiles toward 
the front of the picture — as if a strong wind had 
blown straight across the page lining them up like 
weather vanes. Now I know that the glorified live 
stock was an expression of Iowa ideals in 1875 — 
and that fact in itself is of historic importance. 

J. C. P. 





Ruth A. Oallahee ' 
Eliphal^t PktCE ^ 

Published Monthly At IowaCitit By 
THE SIATE HKTOffldf SgCIEIYoFkM" 

^ 

APPLICATION FOR ENTRY AS SFCOND CI ASS MATTER AT THE POST OFFICE AT IOWA CITY IOWA PEN 



THE PURPOSE OF THIS MAGAZINE 

The Palimpsest, issued monthly by The State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Suppleitienting the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 

Superintendent 



THE MEANING OF PALIMPSESTS 

In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 



PRICE — 10c per copy : $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 



The Palimpsest 

EDITED BY JOHN C. PARISH 
Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. I Issued in September 1920 No. 3 

COPYRIGHT 1920 BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA 

A Romance of the Forties 

It was Sunday, and most of the inhabitants of the 
little Iowa village of Quasqueton were assembled at 
the town boarding house for their regular exchange 
of gossip and stories. On this particular occasion 
the ordinary town talk was probably superseded by 
a more absorbing topic, namely, the unsuccessful elk 
hunt of the day before. Again and again in the past 
weeks a lone elk had been chased in vain by the 
hunters of Buchanan County. Many and varied 
were the theories devised by these pioneer Nimrods 
to explain the failure, one being that the elusive elk 
was only a phantom of its departed race and kind. 

Breaking abruptly into the midst of their discus- 
sion, rode a man and a girl, both on spirited black 
horses ; and the attention of the group shifted imme- 
diately to these newcomers. The man was a com- 
manding figure, tall and well built. He had about 
him an air which strongly impressed one with the 
fact that he was a person not to be trifled with — 

66 



66 



THE PALIMPSEST 



yet the sprinkling of gray in his black hair lent dig- 
nity and charm to his appearance. The girl, on the 
other hand, was as striking in point of loveliness as 
her companion was in general appearance and bear- 
ing. She was fair in feature, graceful and bewitch- 
ing in manners, attractive in form and speech. With 
the advent of this unusual couple it is safe to say 
that everyone speedily lost interest in the elk hunt. 

Upon being asked the customary pioneer question 
— whence he came and where he proposed to go — 
he made the startling declaration that he was Bill 
Johnson, the far-famed Canadian patriot of the 
Thousand Isles of the St. Lawrence Eiver. A gasp 
of wonder followed this remarkable revelation, for 
in the early forties the daring exploits of the re- 
nowned Canadian were fresh in the minds of all 
frontiersmen. But a few years had elapsed since 
the so-called Patriot War of 1838 which was a 
revolt of certain Canadians against the administra- 
tion of Sir Francis Bond Head, then Governor- 
General of Canada. And by far the most conspicuous 
figure in the revolt was Bill Johnson, whose adven- 
tures, deeds, and escapades in the region of the 
Thousand Isles of the St. Lawrence, where he had 
been compelled to flee from justice, would fill a vol- 
ume. So it is little to be wondered at that this 
abrupt, unexpected appearance of the notorious 
rebel should have affected the villagers as it did. 

Before they had time to recover from their sur- 
prise, he plunged into his tale. He told how he had 



A ROMANCE OF THE FORTIES 



67 



long been a terror to the British Dominion, how he 
and his family had lived on and indeed owned many 
of the islands in the St. Lawrence, and how he had 
been forced to flee from place to place to escape the 
British. He concluded by saying that since his 
daughter and he were now the only living members 
of his family, and having tired of the dangerous 
fugitive life on the islands, they had decided to leave 
Canada and settle down in Iowa. Interest changed 
to wonder, and wonder to awe, as he fluently recited 
his tale of daring adventures and hair-breadth 
escapes ; and by the time he had finished, admiration 
was written on the faces of all. 

Johnson purchased a farm within two miles of 
Quasqueton ; and for some time the social life of the 
community centered about him and his daughter. 
While he probably came and went in every day life 
like the other pioneers, one can easily imagine the 
effect he had on his neighbors : how the story of his 
arrival spread from cabin to cabin; how the loud 
talk in the village grocery store toned down to a 
subdued whispering behind his back when he stepped 
up to the counter to buy, only to break out again 
stronger than ever the moment he left; and how lie 
was followed by admiring glances and busy tongues 
wherever he went. It is even possible that the chil- 
dren in their daily games played at the daring ex- 
ploits of the heroic figure. 

It came as a rude shock to many in the surround- 
ing community, therefore, when they learned that 



68 



THE PALIMPSEST 



their prominent neighbors had been made the vic- 
tims of an unspeakably cruel outrage. According to 
Johnson's version, a party made up of about eight 
white men and a band of Indians, entered his house 
on a wintry night, dragged him from his bed out 
into the bitter cold, tied him to a tree and gave him 
some fifty lashes on the bare back. Then they or- 
dered him and his daughter to pack up their belong- 
ings and leave the county within two hours. Since 
there was nothing to do but obey, into the bleak 
night they went, with twenty-five miles of windswept 
prairie between them and refuge. It was cold, so 
cruelly cold that one of the rioters is said to have 
frozen to death, another froze his feet, while many 
others of the party were frost bitten before they 
reached their homes. To J ohnson, when he learned 
this, it must have seemed that poetic justice had 
overtaken his persecutors who had driven him from 
his home into the cold with an unmerciful beating. 

In Dubuque, Johnson commenced proceedings 
against the rioters. The trial proved to be a lode- 
stone, for hundreds of spectators crowded into the 
court room, no doubt as much to view the famous 
Canadians as to see justice done. Nor is it to be 
overlooked that the charms of Kate proved irre- 
sistible — she captivated the court from the judge 
to the janitor. So enamoured with her beauty and 
charm was the judge that he is said to have forgot- 
ten the dignity of his position in that he left his 
elevated station and escorted her to the door. And 



A ROMANCE OF THE FORTIES 69 

we are told that *^The cohort of loungers mounted 
the tables and benches, the bald headed jurors and 
the phalanx of attorneys stood with amazed counte- 
nance and open mouths at the unprecedented pro- 
ceedings.^' 

The trial went hard against the offenders. Four 
of them — Spencer, Evans, Parrish, and Rawley — 
were convicted, one sentenced to the penitentiary 
for two years, and the others fined two hundred dol- 
lars each. Stern justice must be meted out to those 
who dared encroach upon the rights of law-abiding- 
people taking up residence in Iowa. 

One of the absurd sequels of this trial was the 
effect on the young men. Although everyone at the 
trial, including the judge, was completely bewitched 
by the lovely Kate, it was the young bloods, and 
especially the editorial gallants who were most 
sorely smitten. After the trial they vied with one 
another in showering compliments and sweet flat- 
tery upon her through the editorial columns. 
Andrew Keesecker of the Dubuque Miner's Express. 
carried away in his ecstasy, wrote a rhapsody in 
which she was pictured as having heavenly charms, 
deep blue eyes, matchless grace, piercing glances, 
queen-like dignity, soul-subduing countenance ' \ As 
a result, he was made the laughing stock of the whole 
press of the West, a fact he deeply resented. The 
ridicule of John B. Russell, editor of the Blooming- 
ton Herald, he must have regarded as a personal 
affront, for he came very near fighting a duel with 



70 THE PALIMPSEST 

him over it. Apparently what prevented these pio- 
neer knights from entering the lists for a deadly tilt 
over the fair lady was disagreement as to place of 
meeting. 

From Dubuque, Johnson and Kate went into Ma- 
haska County, settling near the Skunk River. There 
a new turn of affairs took place in their ever event- 
ful lives. Heretofore the famous Canadian had not 
been bothered much by the love-stricken admirers of 
his fair daughter, for they had been content to gaze 
and admire from a distance. But now a new prob- 
lem confronted him when a man actually dared to 
make love openly to Kate. 

J ob Peck was the long reputed rowdy and terror 
of the Skunk River country. One day when he was 
hunting deer, he saw smoke curling up from the 
chimney of a recently vacant cabin. Curious to 
learn who its new occupants were, he proceeded to 
reconnoitre, and when his eyes fell upon Kate — the 
Cleopatra of the Iowa frontier — it is reported that 
he immediately shed his desperado characteristics. 
One can almost picture his desperate efforts to live 
down his doubtful reputation, break from his swag- 
gering habits, and make a favorable impression on 
the ^'new girl'\ And hereafter, he made frequent 
wanderings to the little cabin in the timber; his deer 
in the chase seemed always to lead him to that local- 
ity. But even though Kate seemed disposed to 
return his affections, the old man would have none 
of their foolishness. And one day, rifle in hand, he 



A ROMANCE OF THE FORTIES 



71 



ordered young Peck off his premises, threatening 
him dire vengeance if he ever prowled about the 
place again. 

These threats probably kept the love-smitten Peck 
well out of the range of Johnson's rifle in the day 
time, but evidently did not cause him to abandon the 
dictates of his heart. For one evening when John- 
son was away, Peck eloped with Kate to Benjamin 
McClary's place in Jefferson County, where they 
were married. When the father came home and 
learned what had happened, he followed in hot pur- 
suit and arrived at McClary's cabin just after the 
young couple had gone to bed. 

With drawn pistol he entered the cabin and 
climbed up into the loft where they had retired for 
the night. At the point of his gun he forced his 
daughter to get up and dress and descend the ladder. 
Then he followed, put her on a horse and rode away 
with her. Peck, meanwhile, suffered the humiliation 
unresisting. It was hopeless to remonstrate or 
argue with an armed man. And was not this the 
fearless rebel who had struck terror into the hearts 
of many a Britisher in the Thousand Isles? 

Several days passed. Then came a wild dismal 
night with the wolves howling a blood curdling cho- 
rus in the timber near Johnson's cabin. The Cana- 
dian himself sat on a rude stool before a log lire, 
puffing away at a corn cob pipe. There was a flasli of 
light, a sharp report, and he fell to the floor sliot 
through the heart. Suspicion pointed toward young 



72 



THE PALIMPSEST 



Peck, and he was arrested and held for the murder in 
a Washington County jail. But though it was gener- 
ally conceded that he was guilty of the crime, in the 
trial he was acquitted. 

Recently there had come unexpected developments. 
For some time Bill Johnson and his bewitching 
daughter had given new zest and color to the ordi- 
narily hard life of the pioneers of Iowa. Unthought 
of events had followed each other in such rapid suc- 
cession that the people hardly knew what to look for 
next. Then came the news out of the East that the 
man who had passed himself as Bill Johnson the 
Canadian patriot was not that noted character, but 
rather was the degenerate son of a worthy Welsh 
Canadian — that he was a criminal and an impostor, 
and a man of low repute. The real patriot Johnson, 
it was learned, was held in high esteem, even by his 
enemies. Then it was learned that in the Dubuque 
trial, Johnson and Kate had perjured themselves; 
and upon this discovery, the Governor remitted the 
penalties laid upon the assailants in the winter night 
attack. These men set out to arrest Kate for having 
committed perjury ; but she was aided by those who 
were still subject to her charms, and made her 
escape. 

That the person whom they had accepted and en- 
tertained so royally should turn out to be an impos- 
tor was a fact bitterly hard for the lowans to accept. 
But the evidence was not to be doubted. The first 
clear intimation that the Bill Johnson dwelling 



A ROMANCE OF THE FORTIES 



73 



among them was not the Canadian jjatriot came in 
the form of a statement in a New York newspaper, 
denying that the Johnson of Canadian memory had 
been lynched in Buchanan County, for he was at that 
time residing in New York State, and was in good 
health. Shortly afterward a letter followed, from a 
number of inhabitants of Greenville, Maine, which 
revealed the facts that Iowa's hero had at one time 
resided in the vicinity of the Canadian patriot and 
learned all about him; that while in Maine he had 
variously passed as Killey, Willis, and Salone, and 
had been engaged for the most part in swindling 
schemes. And finally, an lowan, A. C. Fulton, while 
in Canada, looked up the record of the individual 
who had claimed to be the hero of the Thousand 
Isles, and found that he was an impostor and would 
have been welcomed back by the Canadian authori- 
ties with open arms and a rope halter. So the people 
in Clayton, Buchanan, Dubuque, and Mahaska coun- 
ties had to swallow their disappointment and admit 
that a rogue had hoodwinked them. 

There are several versions of the later career of 
Kate and Peck, and it is difficult to say which is cor- 
rect. But there is one of them — and it sounds as 
plausible as any — that brings the romance to a nat- 
ural and happy ending. However, there were long 
and unhappy days for Peck during his imprison- 
ment, and for several months following his release, 
when he knew nothing of his wife's whereabouts. 
No doubt his darkest hour came when he searched in 



74 



THE PALIMPSEST 



vain for a trace of Kate, trjdiig bravely to figlit off 
the fear that perhaps she Avas lost to him forever. 
Finally he learned that from Iowa she had fled to 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ; whereupon he set out for 
the East. At his journey's end he found Kate living 
with refined, cultured people, in whose home she de- 
lighted him with a display of her accomplishments 
upon the xjiano. From Pittsburgh, the happy couple 
moved back to Iowa, settling at a point near Oska- 
loosa, where they lived several years; later the}^ 
moved still further west. In California they lived 
happily together until Peck's death. And the last 
heard of the one time vampire of the Iowa frontier 
was that she was again married and to a devoted 
husband. 

William S. Johnson 



\ 



Benjamin Stone Roberts 



One day in the summer of 1835 a buzz of excite- 
ment broke the monotony at Fort Des Moines: a 
strange officer had arrived at this frontier post on 
the western bank of the Mississippi River. The 
newcomer was Benjamin Stone Roberts who had 
been graduated from West Point on the first day of 
the previous July, brevetted second lieutenant, and 
assigned to duty with the First Dragoons. A strange 
face was an unusual sight in this out-of-the-way 
cantonment, and the soldiers watched the young 
lieutenant curiously as he entered the log cabin 
which served as the headquarters of Colonel Stephen 
Watts Kearny, the commanding officer of the post. 

At this time Lieutenant Roberts was about twenty- 
five years of age, and it is probable that he had never 
before been farther west than New York, for he had 
been born in Vermont and educated at West Point. 
Feeling that he must do credit to his military train- 
ing he had dressed himself in the full regimentals of 
his rank — dark blue double-breasted coat with many 
gilt buttons, bluish gray trousers trimmed in yellow, 
elaborate cap, epaulettes, gold lace, orange colored 
sash, and cavalry sabre. But Colonel Kearny, the 
veteran frontier fighter, refused to be dazzled by the 
brilliant raiment of his subordinate. After careful 
inspection he decided that the hair and board of the 



76 THE PALIMPSEST 

man before him did not conform to army regulations 
and lie gruffly ordered the young officer to get a 
shave and a hair cut. 

The next lesson in the school of frontier army life 
was a problem in construction. Lieutenant Eoberts, 
with a detail of men, was sent to build a log cabin. 
Cabin construction had not been covered in the West 
Point curriculum, but the men were experienced in 
such work and the walls of the cabin were soon 
raised. At this point the officer discovered that no 
openings had been made for windows and doors; 
and considering this an irreparable mistake, he 
, ordered the men to tear down the partially completed 
cabin and cut out the necessary openings. 

In vain the soldiers pointed out to their inexperi- 
enced but theoretically infallible superior that log 
cabins were always built thus, with notches in the 
logs where the openings were to be made later by 
means of a crosscut saw. An officer must be obeyed ; 
and it was only after a part of the log structure had 
been torn down that Captain Jesse B. Brown hap- 
pened to pass that way, inquired the cause of the 
demolition, and ordered the construction continued 
— much to the disgust of the lieutenant and no 
doubt to the great satisfaction of the soldier work- 
men. 

Lieutenant Roberts was really a good soldier, and 
experience soon made him an efficient officer. He 
received his permanent commission as second lieu- 
tenant on May 31, 1836, and was made first lieuten- 



BENJAMIN STONE ROBERTS 



77 



ant on July 31, 1837. During at least a part of 1836 
he served as post adjutant at Fort Des Moines, but 
in some way he became involved in financial difficul- 
ties — due, it is said, to the depreciation of paper 
money entrusted to him by the government. As a 
result of this embarrassment he resigned his com- 
mission on January 28, 1839. 

Civil life, however, did not prove dull and prosaic 
to the young man for soon after he left the military 
service he was appointed chief engineer of the 
Ogdensburg and Champlain Railroad by the Gov- 
ernor of New York, and in 1840 he became assistant 
geologist of that State. Next the young West 
Pointer turned his attention to the study of law, but 
before he had completed his preparation for admis- 
sion to the bar adventure once more called him ; and 
in 1842 he went to Russia, having been assured by 
the Russian Minister that his services would be ac- 
cepted in the railroad construction work then under 
way in that country. When Mr. Roberts arrived in 
Russia, however, he found that an oath of allegiance 
was required from all foreigners employed in such 
service, and considering that to become a subject of 
the Tsar was too great a price to pay for employ- 
ment, he refused the terms and returned home in 
February, 1843. 

Having finally completed his studies in the sum- 
mer of 1843, the former lieutenant of Fort Des 
Moines began the practice of law at Fort Madison in 
Lee County, not far from the site of the old fort. 



78 



THE PALIMPSEST 



In addition to his duties as a lawyer Roberts was 
also justice of the peace. Here, too, he maintained 
his reputation for originality. It is said that on one 
occasion, when he desired to transfer a lot to a pur- 
chaser, he made out the deed, signed it, secured his 
wife's signature, and then as justice of the peace 
certified to the acknowledgment of the signatures. 

Scarcely had he become established in the prac- 
tice of law before the sound of guns in the southwest 
recalled Lieutenant Roberts to military duty. As 
soon as the Mexican War began he offered his ser- 
vices to the United States, and on May 27, 1846, he 
received a commission as first lieutenant and was 
assigned to the Mounted Rifle Regiment. The fol- 
lowing February he was raised to the grade of cap- 
tain. Indeed, he was promoted in line as if he had 
not been out of the service and received the arrears 
of pay from the date of his dismissal or resignation 
as if he had remained in the service. Evidently the 
matter of the depreciated paper money had been 
cleared up by this time. 

The career of Captain Roberts in the Mexican 
War furnishes one of the romantic incidents associ- 
ated with the story of Iowa and war. He was pres- 
ent at the siege of Vera Cruz, and led his regiment 
in storming the heights of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 
1847. The Mexicans, who referred to the Mounted 
Rifle Regiment as the Cursed Riflemen", met the 
charge of the Americans with a shower of bullets 
but, as Captain Roberts put it, ^Svhen dangers thick- 



BENJAMIN STONE ROBERTS 



79 



eiied and death talked more familiarly face to face, 
the men seemed to rise above every terror. ' ' 

Again on the tenth of August, Captain Eoberts 
led the assault on the town of San Juan de los 
Llanos. Eight days later he participated in the bat- 
tles of Contreras and Churubusco, and on the thir- 
teenth of September he commanded the storming 
party which captured the castle of Chapultepec. 
The following day he led the advance of Quitman's 
army into the City of Mexico, and to him was as- 
signed the honor of raising the first American flag 
over the palace of the Montezumas. Justin H. Smith 
thus describes the scene : 

*^As a triumphal procession the command looked 
rather strange. Quitman and Smith marched at its 
head on foot — the former with only one shoe ; and 
behind them came troops decorated with mud, the 
red stains of battle and rough bandages, carrying 
arms at quite haphazard angles. Not less astonish- 
ing looked the city, for sidewalks, windows, balco- 
nies and housetops were crowded with people. 
-Except for the silence, the countless white handker- 
chiefs and the foreign flags, it might have been 
thought a holiday. Before the palace, which filled 
the east side of the plaza, the troops formed in line 
of battle. Officers took their places at the front, and 
when Captain Roberts hoisted a battle-scarred 
American flag on the statf of the palace at seven 
o'clock, arms were presented and the officers sa- 
luted.'' 



80 THE PALIMPSEST 

The following day Captain Roberts was sent out 
witli five hundred men to drive the straggling forces 
of Santa Anna from the streets of the capital. In 
October he was transferred to the command of the 
United States cavalry forces in the District of 
Puebla and here on November 10, 1847, he surprised 
and defeated seven hundred Mexican guerrillas 
under General Torrejon, captured their supplies, 
and recovered a large merchant train which the ban- 
dits had captured en route to the City of Mexico. 
The sword of the guerrilla chief which became the 
prize of Captain Roberts was presented by him to 
the State of Iowa, and was later deposited in the 
office of the Adjutant General at Des Moines. 

A suit of ancient Mexican armor, said to have been 
taken from the palace in the City of Mexico, was 
also presented to the State of Iowa by Captain 
Roberts. This souvenir, consisting of a helmet of 
brass similar to those worn by the Spanish military 
explorers, with a crest ornamented with stiff black 
hair from a horse's mane or tail, and a breastplate 
and backplate of steel covered with burnished brass, 
the whole weighing about thirty-five pounds, was 
presented by the State officials to the State His- 
torical Society of Iowa and may still be seen in the 
library of the Society. 

The gallant conduct of the young officer did not go 
unrewarded. He was brevetted major on September 
13, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct'' in 
the battle of Chapultepec and lieutenant colonel on 



BENJAMIN STONE ROBERTS , 81 



November 24, 1847, for his part in the actions at 
Matamoras and the Pass Gualaxara. 

But nowhere were the gallant exploits of the 
young captain more appreciated than in the newly 
admitted State of Iowa. Comparatively few citi- 
zens from this frontier Commonwealth had taken 
part in the battles in Mexico and the patriotic people 
of Iowa were sincerely proud of those who served in 
the front ranks. The legislature, indeed, expressed 
this appreciation of the achievements of the Fort 
Madison attorney in two joint resolutions. One of 
these — adopted on January 15, 1849 — was a vote 
of thanks and read as follows : 

Whereas, Capt. Benjamin S. Eoberts, of the 
United States Army has presented to the State of 
Iowa, a suit of armor, taken as a prize of war ; and a 
sword captured from General Torre j on, in the late 
war with Mexico, designed to commemorate the part 
borne in the late struggle by the officers of this State. 
Therefore 

^'Resolved hy the General Assembly of the State 
of Iowa, That Capt. Benj. S. Eoberts of the United 
States Rifles, for his gallantry and heroism during 
the late war with Mexico, has won for himself a 
brilliant distinction, which reflects a lustre upon the 
character of the American soldier, and an honor 
upon this State. And for this evidence of his patri- 
otism and attachment to his adopted State, he de- 
serves and is hereby tendered the cordial thanks of 
the Representatives of the people.'^ 



82 THE PALIMPSEST 

The second resolution was approved on the same 
day and provided that the Treasurer of State be 
authorized *'to procure a finely wrought sword and 
scabbard, not to exceed in cost the sum of one hun- 
dred dollars, with the proper inscriptions, to be pre- 
sented by the Governor to Captain Benjamin S. 
Roberts, of the Rifle Regiment, as a memento of the 
pride of his fellow citizens of this State in the 
soldier-like patriotism, and deeds of valor performed 
by him in the late war with Mexico." 

This sword, elaborately inscribed, was presented 
to Captain Roberts in the Capitol at Washington by 
the Iowa representatives in Congress. No other 
similar honor has been bestowed by the State of 
Iowa. 

Captain Roberts was a leader in organization as 
well as in battle. On March 20, 1860, he submitted 
to the Secretary of War a plan for the reorganiza- 
tion of the militia, but there is nothing to indicate 
that this plan received much notice. Indeed, the 
advent of the Civil War soon made necessary the 
training of all available men. Early in 1861 Captain 
Roberts was sent to Fort Stanton, New Mexico, to 
join Colonel George B. Crittenden who was organ- 
izing an expedition ostensibly against the Apaches. 
After the expedition started, however. Captain Rob- 
erts became convinced that the real object of Colonel 
Crittenden was to aid the Confederate cause. He 
refused to obey treasonable orders, and, procuring a 
furlough, hastened to Santa Fe to inform Colonel 



BENJAMIN STONE ROBERTS 



83 



Loring of the situation ; but to his astonishment and 
chagrin he was reproved and ordered back to Fort 
Stanton. It transpired soon after this that Critten- 
den and Loring were both disloyal. 

For a time, following the battle of Valverde and 
the rout of the Texans, Colonel Roberts was in com- 
mand of several military districts in New Mexico, 
but on June 16, 1862, he was made brigadier general 
of volunteers and transferred to the staff of General 
John Pope as chief of cavalry. In May, 1863, Gen- 
eral Roberts was transferred to the Department of 
the Northwest, and a month later was put in com- 
mand of the Iowa District with headquarters at 
Davenport. Here he was within a few miles of the 
place where twenty-eight years before he had re- 
ported for duty to Colonel Kearney. 

In honor of the distinguished general and former 
lowan, the camp of the Eighth and Ninth Iowa Cav- 
alry companies at Davenport was at first named 
Camp Roberts. Later the name was changed to 
Camp Kinsman, and toward the close of the war the 
Federal government donated this military establish- 
ment to the Iowa Soldiers ' Orphans * Home. 

Although Iowa was a loyal State it appears that 
some complaints of disloyalty were made to General 
Roberts, and that he attempted to forestall resist- 
ance to the government and especially to the draft 
by the seizure of arms belonging to certain citizens. 
General Pope, the department commander, did not 
approve of the action taken for in July, 1863, he 



84 



THE PALIMPSEST 



wrote to General Roberts from Milwaukee, Wiscon- 
sin : 

i i I regretted much to receive your dispatch stating 
that you had seized arms, &c., the personal property 
of the citizens of Iowa. I don't desire you to have 
anything to do with such matters. I have carefully 
refrained from allowing such things to be done here, 
though I have been repeatedly urged to do them. 
. . . . I confine myself strictly to my military 
duty. I hope you will do the same .... Surely 
the seizure of personal property on suspicion mereh^ 
that it might hereafter be used in resisting the laws 
was out of place by a military commander in loyal 
States, and can only lead to ill-feeling and disagree- 
able and unnecessary complications, which it has 
been my steady purpose to avoid.'' 

General Pope urged that no action of this kind 
be taken by the military authorities in loyal States 
except upon the request of the civil authorities. 
Within a short time this contingency occurred in 
Iowa, for on August 6, 1863, Governor Kirkwood 
wrote to the Secretary of War that because of a mob 
of armed men in Keokuk County he had asked Gen- 
eral Roberts to detain the six companies of the Sev- 
enth Iowa Cavalry until the danger was passed. 
This request was complied with. In a letter to Gen- 
eral Roberts General Pope commended his handling 
of this tense situation and added: '^It is not neces- 
sary to inform the people of Iowa that troops will be 
used to enforce the draft nor to hold out to them any 



BENJAMIN STONE ROBERTS 



85 



such threat in advance of execution of laws, which 
it is only apprehended they may resist.'* 

On December 2, 1863, General Roberts was re- 
lieved of his command of the Iowa District and was 
transferred to the Department of the Gulf where he 
served during the remainder of the war. He was 
mustered out of volunteer service on January 15, 
1866, remaining in the Regular Army as lieutenant 
colonel of the Third Cavalry. 

During the years immediately following the Civil 
War General Roberts devoted his energies to the 
invention and improvement of military equipment. 
He retired from the army in December, 1870, to take 
up the manufacture and sale of a rifle he had de- 
signed, but it does not appear that he was successful 
in securing the orders he anticipated during the 
Franco-Prussian War. He died at Washington, 
D. C, on January 29, 1875. 

Ruth A. Gallaher 



The Trial and Execution of Patrick 
O'Conner at the Dubuque Mines 
in the Summer of 1834 

[Eliphalet Price, an eyewitness of the hanging, wrote the follow- 
ing account in the early fifties. In October, 1865, this account was 
published by the State Historical Society of Iowa in the Annals of 
Iowa, from which it is here reprinted. Price's spelling of the name 
O'Connor has been retained in the article. — The Editor] 

In giving a detailed historical account of the trial 
and execution of Patrick O'Conner, at the Dubuque 
mines, in the summer of 1834, we are aware that 
there are many persons still living who participated 
in bringing about a consummation of justice on that 
occasion; as well as many who v/ere witnesses of the 
stern solemnity attending its closing scene; which 
may subject this reminiscence to a criticism which 
we believe will not extend beyond the omission of 
some minutia, which did not come under our per- 
sonal observation. 

Soon after the treaty between the United States 
and the Sac and Fox Indians at Eock Island in 1832, 
which resulted in the extinguishment of the Indian 
Title to the lands embraced in the present State of 
Iowa, permanent mining locations and settlements 
began to be made in the vicinity of the present city 
of Dubuque; and at the close of the winter of 1834, 
Congress attached the country acquired under the 



86 



THE EXECUTION OF O'CONNOR 87 



treaty, to the Territory of Michigan, for election and 
judicial purposes.^ 

Up to that period no judicial tribunals existed in 
the country, except those created by the people for 
special purposes. Difficulties of a civil character 
were investigated and settled by arbitrators; while 
those of a criminal character were decided by a jury 
of twelve men, and, when condemnation was agreed 
upon the verdict of guilty was accompanied by the 
sentence. Such was the judicial character of the 
courts which were held at that time, in what was 
known as the "Blachhawk Purchase.'' 

Patrick 'Conner, the subject of this memoir, was 
born in the year 1797 in the county of Cork, Ireland, 
— came to the United States in the year 1826, and 
soon after arrived at Galena, in the State of Illinois, 
where he embarked in mining operations. Having 
fractured his left leg in the fall of 1828, on board of 
a steamboat, in Fever River, it was found necessary 
to amputate the limb, which operation was per- 
formed by Dr. Phileas of Galena. In this situation 
'Conner became an object of public charity. The 
citizens of Galena, and the mines in that vicinity, 
promptly came forward and subscribed liberal sums 
of money for his support and medical attendance 
and in the course of time he was enabled to get about 
with the assistance of a wooden leg, when he began 
to display a brawling and quarrelsome disposition, 
which soon rendered him no longer an object of pub- 

1 This act of Congress was approved June 28, 1834. — The Editor. 



88 



THE PALIMPSEST 



lie sympathy. In this situation he endeavored to 
aAvaken a renewal of public charity in aid of his sup- 
port, by setting fire to his cabin in Galena, which 
came near destroying contiguous property of great 
value. This incendiary act, and the object for which 
it was designed, being traced to 'Conner, and ex- 
posed by Mr. John Brophy, a respectable merchant 
of Galena, 'Conner soon after, while passing the 
store of Mr. Brophy in the evening, fired the contents 
of a loaded gun through the door with the view of 
killing Brophy. Failing to accomplish his object, 
and being threatened with some of the provisions of 
lynch law, he left Galena and came to the Dubuque 
mines in the fall of 1833, where he entered into a 
mining partnership with George O'Keaf, also a na- 
tive of Ireland. O'Keaf was an intelligent and in- 
dustrious young man about 22 years old, and much 
respected by all who knew^ him. They erected a 
cabin upon the bank of the Mississippi river, near 
the present smelting furnace of Peter A. Lorimier, 
about two miles south from Dubuque; while their 
mining operations were conducted in the immediate 
neighborhood. 

On the 19th of May, 1834, O'Keaf came up to 
Dubuque and purchased some provisions, when he 
returned to his cabin about 2 o'clock in the after- 
noon, accompanied by an acquaintance. Upon ar- 
riving at his cabin and finding the door fastened 
upon the inside, he called to 'Conner to open it. 
'Conner replied; 



THE EXECUTION OF O'CONNOR 



89 



Don't be in a hurry, I'll open it when I get 
ready.'' 

'Keaf waited a few minutes when he again called 
to 'Conner, saying: **It is beginning to rain, open 
the door quick. ' ' 

To this, 'Conner made no reply; when O'Keaf, 
who had a bundle in one hand and a ham of bacon in 
the other, placed his shoulder against the door and 
forced it open. As he was in the act of stepping into 
the house, 'Conner, who was sitting upon a bench 
on the opposite side of the room in front of the door, 
immediately leveled a musket and fired at O'Keaf. 
Five slugs entered his breast and he fell dead. The 
young man who accompanied O'Keaf immediately 
ran to the smelting furnace of Roots & Ewing, about 
a mile distant, and gave information of what had 
transpired. In a short time a large concourse of 
miners were assembled around the cabin, when 
'Conner being asked why he shot O'Keaf, replied, 
*'That is my business", and then proceeded to give 
directions concerning the disposition of the body. 
Some person joresent having suggested that he be 
hung immediately upon the tree in front of his cabin, 
a rope was procured for that purpose. But the more 
discreet and reflecting portion of the bystanders in- 
sisted that he should be taken to Dubuque, and the 
matter there fully and fairly investigated. Accord- 
ingly 'Conner was taken up to Dubuque. And on 
the 20th of May, 1834, the first trial for murder, in 
what is now known as the State of Iowa, was held in 



90 



THE PALIMPSEST 



the open air, beneath the wide-spreading branches of 
a large elm tree, directly in front of the dwelling 
then occupied by Samuel Clifton. A large concourse 
of people had assembled and stood quietly gazing 
upon the prisoner, when upon the motion of some 
person. Captain White was appointed prosecuting 
attorney, or counsel in behalf of the people. 'Con- 
ner being directed to choose from among the by- 
standers some person to act as his counsel, observed : 

Faith, and I'll tind to my own business", and 
appeared perfectly indifferent about the matter. At 
length he selected Capt. Bates of Galena, who hap- 
pened to be present, and in whose employ 'Conner 
had formerly been engaged. The two counsel then 
summoned from among the bystanders twenty-four 
persons, who were requested to stand up in a line; 
when Capt. White directed 'Conner to choose from 
among those persons twelve jurors. He accordingly 
chose the following persons, calling each by name : 

Woodbury Massey, Hosea L. Camp, John McKen- 
sie, Milo H. Prentice, James Smith, Jesse M. Harri- 
son, Thomas McCabe, Nicholas Carrol, John S. 
Smith and Antoine Loire. 

The names of the other two jurors, who were trav- 
eling strangers, cannot after a period of thirty years 
be discovered. It was known, however, at the time 
of the trial, that six of the jurors were Americans, 
three of them Irishmen, one Englishman, one 
Scotchman and one Frenchman. The jury being 
seated upon some house logs Capt. White observed 



THE EXECUTION OF O'CONNOR 



91 



to O'Conner, '^Are you satisfied with that juryr' 
^Cornier replied, ^'I have no objection to any of 
them: ye have no laws in the country, and ye cannot 
try me.'' 

Capt. White continued, *S^ou, Patrick O'Conner, 
are charged with the murder of George O'Keaf, do 
you plead guilty or not guilty!" 

O'Conner replied, '^I'U not deny that I shot him, 
but ye have no laws in the country, and cannot try 
me. ' ' 

Three or four witnesses were then examined; 
when Capt. White addressed the jury for a few 
minutes and was followed by Capt. Bates, who en- 
deavored to urge upon the jury to send the criminal 
to the State of Illinois, and there have him tried by 
a legal tribunal. Capt. White replied that otTenders 
had been sent to Illinois for that purpose, and had 
been released upon ''Habeas Corpus," that state 
having no jurisdiction over offences committed upon 
the west side of the Mississippi River. After this, 
the jury retired, and having deliberated for an hour, 
returned to their seats, upon the logs, with Wood- 
bury Massey as their foreman, who read from a 
paper the following verdict and sentence : 

''We the undersigned, residents of tlie Dubuque 
Lead Mines, being chosen by Patrick O'Conner, and 
empanneled as a Jury to try the matter wlierein 
Patrick O'Conner is charged witli the murder of 
George O'Keaf, do find that the said Patrick O'Con- 
ner is guilty of murder in the first degree, and ought 



92 



THE PALIMPSEST 



to be, and is by us sentenced to be liung by the neck 
until he is dead; which sentence shall take effect on 
Tuesday the 20th day of June, 1834, at one o'clock 
P. M."2 

Signed by all the jurors, each in his own hand 
writing. 

There was a unanimous expression of all the by- 
standers in favor of the decision of the jury. No 
dissenting voice was heard, until a short time before 
the execution, when the Eev. Mr. Fitzmaurice, a 
Catholic priest from Galena, visited 'Conner and 
inveighed against the act of the people, denouncing 
it as being illegal and unjust. Immediately the 
Catholic portion of the Irish people became cool 
upon the subject, and it was evident that they in- 
tended to take no further part in the matter. 

Up to this time we did not ])olieve tliat O 'Conner 
would be executed. It was in the power of the Rev. 
Mr. Fitzmaurice to save liim, and he was anxious to 
do so. Had he appealed to the ]:)eople in a courteous 
manner, and solicited his paidoii upon the condition 
that he would leave the country, we confidently be- 
lieve that they would have granted it; but he impru- 
dently sought to alienate the fe(^lings of tlie Irish 
people from the support of an act of ])ublic justice, 
which they, in common with the people of the mines, 
had been endeavoring to consummate. This had the 
effect of closing the avemies to any pai'don that the 
people might have previously 1)0(mi willing to grant. 

2 The 20t]i of June. ISlU, oci'iirred on a Fri.lay — Tho Editor. 



THE EXECUTION OP O'CONNOR 



93 



They, however, up to this time, would have recog- 
nized a pardon from tlie Governor of Missouri or the 
President of the United States. Application was 
made to tlie Governor of Missouri to pardon him; 
hut he replied that he had no jurisdiction over the 
country, and referred the applicants to the President 
of the United States. President Jackson replied to 
an application made to him, that the laws of the 
United States had not been extended over the newly 
acquired purchase, and that he had no authority to 
act in the matter ; and observed, that as this was an 
extraordinary case, he thought the pardoning power 
was invested in the power that condemned. A few 
days before the execution, a rumor got afloat that a 
body of two hundred Irishmen were on their way 
from Mineral Point, intending to rescue 'Conner 
on the day of execution. Although this report proved 
not to be founded in truth, it had the effect of placing 
the fate of 'Conner beyond the pardoning control 
of any power but force. Runners were immediately 
dispatched to the mines to summon the people to 
arms ; and on the morning of the 20th of June, 1834, 
one hundred and sixty-three men, with loaded rifles 
formed into line on Main street in front of the old 
^'Bell Tavern/' where they elected Loring Wheeler 
' Captain of the Company, and Ezra Madden, Wood- 
bury Massey, Thomas R. Brasher, John Smith and 
Milo H. Prentice, Marshals of the day. The com- 
pany being formed six-a-breast, marched slowly by a 
circuitous route to the house where 'Conner was 



94 



THE PALIMPSEST 



coiiliiied, while the fife breathed in lengthened strains 
the solemn air of the Dead March, accompanied by 
the long roll of the mnffled drum. The stores, shops 
and groceries had closed up their doors and life no 
longer manifested itself through the bustling hum of 
worldly pursuits. All was silent as a Sabbath morn, 
save the mournful tolling of the village bell. Men 
whispered as they passed each other, while every 
countenance denoted the solemnity and importance 
of the occasion. Two steamers had arrived that 
morning from Galena and Prairie Du Chien, with 
passengers to witness the execution. The concourse 
of spectators could not have been less than one thou- 
sand persons. 

The company having marched to the house occu- 
pied by 'Conner, now owned by Herman Chadwick, 
halted and opened in the center, so as to admit into 
the column the horse and cart containing the coffin. 
The horse was driven by William Adams, who was 
seated upon the coffin, and was employed as execu- 
tioner. He had on black silk gloves, and a black silk 
handkerchief secured over and fitted to his face by 
some adhesive substance, which gave him the ap- 
pearance of a negro. The Marshals soon came out 
of the house, followed by 'Conner and the Rev. Mr. 
Fitzmaurice. The two latter took a position directly 
behind the cart, while the former mounted their 
horses and rode to the front of the column, which 
now moved slowly to the smith-shop of Thomas 
Brasher, where the irons were stricken from O'Con- 



THE EXECUTION OF O'CONNOR 



95 



ner by Henry Becket. Our position in the column 
being in the front rank, following the priest and 
^Conner, we were enabled to observe the bearing of 
the latter. He seemed to have abandoned all idea 
of being released, and was much distressed, wring- 
ing his hands and occasionally ejaculating detached 
parli of some prayer, ^^Will the Lord forgive mel'^ 
he would frequently ask of Mr. Fitzmaurice, who 
^ would reply, Whosoever believeth in the Lord 
Jesus Christ shall be saved,'' together with other 
like scriptural expressions. After he returned from 
the smith-shop, the Captain of the company desired 
him to get into the cart, when, the priest observed, 
*'No, I wish to talk to him; let him walk." Capt. 
Wheeler replied that he had orders to place him in 
the cart; but would go and state his request to the 
Marshal. Accordingly he advanced to where Mr. 
Madden was sitting upon his horse, who observed in 
a loud tone of voice, * ' No ; if that gentleman wishes 
to talk with him, let him ride upon the cart with the 
murderer." This was spoken harshly and con- 
temptuously by Mr. Madden, who, we learned after- 
wards, was deeply offended at some remarks previ- 
ously made by Mr. Fitzmaurice concerning himself, 
and imprudently took this opportunity to retaliate, 
which we have reason to believe he afterwards re- 
gretted. 

The Captain of the company delivered the message 
as he received it, though in a more pleasant tone of 
voice, Fitzmaurice bowed respectfully to the mes- 



96 



THE PALIMPSEST 



sage, but made no reply. 'Conner being now seated 
upon the coffin, the column commenced moving for- 
ward, to quarter minute taps of the drum, and ar- 
rived about twelve o'clock at the gallows, which was 
erected on the top of a mound in the vicinity of the 
present Court House. The company here formed 
into a hollow square, the cart being driven under 
the arm of the gallows, at the foot of which the grave 
was already dug. The Captain immediately ordered 
the company to ground arms, and uncover. Even 
many of the spectators removed their hats, while the 
priest offered up, in a clear and distinct tone of 
voice, a fervent and lengthy prayer, parts of which 
were repeated by 'Conner, who, at the close of the 
prayer, addressed a few remarks to the people, say- 
ing that he had killed O'Keaf, that he was sorry for 
it, and he hoped that all would forgive him. Then 
pausing for a moment, he observed, wish Mr. 
Lorimier and Gratiot to have my — " here he was 
interrupted by the priest, who observed, ^^Do not 
mind your worldly affairs ; in a few minutes you will 
be launched into eternity ; give your thoughts to your 
God." The hangman now spoke to 'Conner and 
assisted him to reascend the cart, when he adjusted 
around his person a white shroud ; then securing his 
arms behind him at the elbows, he drew the cap over 
his face, fixed the noose around his neck, and lastly, 
he removed his leg of wood ; then descended from the 
cart, and laid hold of the bridle of his horse and 
waited for the signal, which was given by one of the 



THE EXECUTION OF O'CONNOR 



97 



Marshals, who advanced into the open area, where 
he stood with a watch in one hand and a handker- 
chief at arm's length in the other. As the hand of 
the watch came around to the moment, the handker- 
chief fell, and the cart started. There was a con- 
vulsive struggling of the limbs for a moment, 
followed by a tremulous shuddering of the body, and 
life was extinct. The body hung about thirty min- 
utes, when Dr. Andros stepped forward, felt of his 
pulse, and said, *'He is dead." The body was then 
cut down and placed in the coffin, together with his 
leg of wood, and deposited in the grave. The com- 
pany now marched in single file to the front of the 
Bell Tavern, where a collection was taken up to de- 
fray the expenses, when the company was disbanded. 
Immediately after this, many of the reckless and 
abandoned outlaws, who had congregated at the Du- 
buque Mines, began to leave for sunnier climes. The 
gleam of the Bowie knife was no longer seen in the 
nightly brawls of the street, nor dripped upon the 
sidewalk the gore of man; but the people began to 
feel more secure in the enjoyment of life and 
property. 

Eliphalet Price 



Comment by the Editor 



AN EYEWITNESS 

111 the July number thirteen border criminals came 
within a few beans of hanging. Instead they were 
merely whipped and exiled, with the result that one 
of them at least returned to take a prominent part in 
the murder of Colonel George Davenport. In the 
present number a man is actually hanged. The af- 
fair was a noteworthy one, but it occurred at so early 
a date that there are few records of it. Fortunately 
Eliphalet Price was there as an eyewitness. He had 
come to the lead mining regions by way of New 
Orleans about the time of the Black Hawk War. In 
fact one writer credits him with having had a part in 
that war, capturing twelve redskinned prisoners. 

However that may be, Price was in Dubuque in 
1834, and was a prominent figure in northeastern 
Iowa for nearly forty years thereafter. He held 
various offices and was influential in State politics, 
partly by reason of his unusual ability as a speaker 
and a writer. In the sixties he was a member of the 
Board of Curators of the State Historical Society of 
Iowa and wrote many graphic articles for the Annals 
of loiva which the Society was then publishing. 

IOWA IN 1834 

When Patrick O'Connor killed his partner, George 
O'Keaf, in 1834, the country that is now Iowa was 

98 



COMMENT BY THE EDITOR 99 



without a local constitutional status. It was a part 
of no State or organized Territory. Missouri, of 
which it had been a part, became a State in 1821 and 
the land north of it to the Canadian boundary and 
west to the upper waters of the Missouri River was 
left without organized government. No legal courts 
sat within its borders; no sheriff or constable pro- 
tected its inhabitants. For a long time these inhab- 
itants consisted only of Indians and fur traders. 
Settlement was prohibited by act of Congress. 

In 1830 a group of lead miners crossed to what is 
now Dubuque and began to work the mines. They 
met beside a cottonwood log on the shore and drew 
up a set of rules for their own government. But 
Zachary Taylor, in command of United States troops 
at Fort Crawford, sent a detachment of soldiers 
under Ijieutenant J eff erson Davis to drive them out. 
After the Black Hawk War miners and settlers 
crossed the river in numbers and, although still tech- 
nically trespassers, developed a pioneer community 
into which O'Connor and O'Keaf came and settled. 

The murder, according to Price's account, took 
place on May 19, and the hanging on June 20, 1834. 
Eight days later an act of Congress was approved 
which placed the tract of land including modern 
Iowa under the jurisdiction of the Territory of 
Michigan. 

''YE HAVE NO LAWS" 

The hanging was extra-legal, but under the condi- 
tions it was essentially an act of authority. Justice 



100 



THE PALIMPSEST 



is not always dependent upon the citation of stat- 
utes and the functioning of commissioned officials; 
in fact justice is sometimes accomplished more truly 
where it is not trammelled by legal technicalities. 
O'Connor's punishment was the deliberate, care- 
fully-weighed act of a people who exercised the judi- 
cial function because they had no legal machinery 
to serve them. He was tried before a jury of his 
peers ; he was given the benefit of a counsel to plead 
his cause; and a month's time elapsed between his 
sentence and his execution. Looking upon it in an- 
other light, his hanging was the logical answer of 
the people of a community to a man who said: **I'll 
not deny that I shot him, but ye have no laws in the 
country, and cannot try me. ' ' 

J. 0. P. 




Father. Maz2Uch^lr , l6l 
A Few IVlkrtial Memories 1 1 1 
Comment 129 



Published Monthly At Iowa City By 



IHE State HiSTORicAi! SocieiyofIowa 



APPLICATION FOR ENTRY AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THH POST OFFICE AT IOWA CITY IOWA PENO 




THE PURPOSE OF THIS MAGAZINE 

The Palimpsest, issued monthly by The State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 

Superintendent 



THE MEANING OF PALIMPSESTS 

In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 



PRICE — 10c per copy : $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical S o c i e t y Iowa City Iowa 



The Palimpsest 

EDITED BY JOHN C. PARISH 
Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. I Issued in October 1920 No. 4 

copyright 1920 BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA 

Father Mazzuchelli 

A young Italian stood clinging to the mainmast of 
a sailing vessel that plunged desperately in the midst 
of a gale upon the Atlantic. His imagination was 
stirred by the spectacle of the sea in its turbulence 
and he held his perilous position and watched the 
waves vent their wrath upon the boat and toss their 
crests across the deck, while overhead the wind 
howled through the rigging and the thunder crashed 
in the darkened sky. 

Wide-eyed and fascinated he gazed at the storm 
about him, and with the same wide-eyed eagerness he 
looked forward to the quest upon which he was em- 
barked. Samuel Charles Mazzuchelli was answering 
a call that had come to him at Rome. Since he was 
seventeen he had been preparing for the life of a 
Dominican priest, but when he was about twenty-one 
and not yet ordained he had heard a man from 
America tell of the need of preachers and churches 
on the far western edge of that new country. And 



101 



102 



THE PALIMPSEST 



with hardly more ado than a trip to Milan to bid his 
parents farewell, he had set out for the land of 
possibilities. 

In France, on a two months' sojourn, he had 
picked up a little knowledge of French, but he spoke 
no English. He had no companion, nor was any one 
to meet him in New York. He only knew that some- 
how he was to get to Cincinnati where he was to be 
taught English, ordained, and assigned to a mission. 
And somehow he did get there and began the last 
round of preparation for his life work. 

Two years later, in 1830, Mazzuchelli appeared at 
Mackinac Island in the northern part of the Terri- 
tory of Michigan. This island in the straits between 
Lakes Huron and Michigan was one of the posts of 
the American Fur Company. During the winter it 
was comparatively quiet but in the summer when the 
fur traders accompanied by their boatmen and 
clerks came in with their loads of furs — the result 
of a winter's work upon a hundred rivers and lakes 
in the northwest — the island swarmed with a motley 
population of Americans, French Canadians, half- 
breeds and Indians. 

Here the young priest began his labors. At first 
he was the only Catholic priest within hundreds of 
miles, and he tried to make this whole vast region 
his parish. He spent his time for five years travel- 
ing over wide spaces to celebrate mass and preach to 
Indians and scattered fur trading settlements. In 
a trader's boat he crossed Lake Michigan to Green 



FATHER MAZZUCHELLI 103 



Bay, and there he designed a church and managed its 
erection. He visited again and again the far off 
Winnebago village on the Wisconsin River, and he 
trailed across country to the Mississippi and 
preached to the settlement at Prairie du Chien. 
Menominee, Ottawa, Chippewa, and Winnebago In- 
dians as well as American and French traders and 
their half-breed assistants came to know and like 
this slender young Dominican. He was not a rugged 
man, but small of stature and delicate of physique. 
Yet, though he never spared himself, the brightness 
of his eyes and the rich color of his cheeks remained 
with him to the end of his days. 

He journeyed on foot, by canoe and on horseback, 
and in winter on snow-shoes and by sledge over the 
deep snows orup and down the frozen rivers. His 
memoirs read like pages from the Jesuit Relations 
of a century and a half before. He held services 
sometimes in the open under the trees, sometimes in 
lodges made of bark and mats brought and set up 
for the occasion by the Indian worshippers. He 
lived at times in the cabins of Indian tribes, eating 
with them, trying to master their languages, and 
sleeping upon their mats at night. 

Nature never ceased to delight him. In his 
memoirs, in which he always spoke of himself in the 
third person, he tells of a journey to Arbre-Croche 
on the shore of Lake Michigan. 

'^Taking advantage of ten Catholic Indians leav- 
ing for Arbre-Croche in a bark canoe one evening he 



104 



THE PALIMPSEST 



crossed the Straits of Mackinac with them, and spent 
the first night in a dense forest, under a little tent 
cheered by a crackling fire close by, — which was 
supplied with fuel by the company. Who will forget 
the sweet canticles sung in their own native tongue 
by the pious oarsmen while crossing the Lake? The 
starry vault above, the calm of the limpid waters, 
their immensity lost in the western horizon, the 
pensive stillness of the shores far-off yet barely dis- 
cernible, all seemed to echo the sweet reverent tones 
of the simple good Ottawas'\ 

During these five years other priests had come to 
the Territory of Michigan, and the trading posts and 
Indian villages became accustomed to the sight of 
the long black mantle of the Dominicans. Mazzu- 
chelli began to think of new fields of labor. In the 
spring of 1835 he made a trip to Cincinnati by way 
of St. Louis and the Ohio River, and as he went down 
the valley of the Mississippi he visited for the first 
time the town of Galena on the Fever River in 
Illinois and the little settlement at Dubuque on the 
west side of the Mississippi. 

In these two lead mining towns were many Cath- 
olics, without either church or pastor, and following 
the visit of Mazzuchelli they petitioned his superiors 
to allow the priest to give his services exclusively to 
that section of the frontier. Thus began a new 
period in his life. His work was now almost entirely 
among the white settlers of the towns along the 
Mississippi, but it was none the less a life of cease- 



FATHER MAZZUCHELLI 105 



less activity. He became more definitely a church 
builder. In the town of Dubuque he stirred the 
people to make subscriptions for a building ; he drew 
up the plans himself, hired the workmen, and laid 
the corner-stone. The church was built from the 
native rock of the vicinity and under the zealous eye 
of the priest it grew slowly but steadily to com- 
pletion. 

In that same year, 1835, Mazzuchelli began a 
church at Galena. Here again he was architect and 
superintendent and it took long months to complete 
the work. In the meantime he built a little wooden 
chapel with a confessional on one side of the altar 
and a closet on the other, six feet by five, in which 
he slept. He alternated between Galena and Du- 
buque ; and in the latter town while the church was 
going up he made his home in a little room under the 
Sanctuary, with unplastered walls and with the bare 
earth for a floor. 

Eliphalet Price, who furnished the stone for a part 
of the Dubuque church, wrote of him : 

We never transacted business with a more honor- 
able, pleasant and gentlemanly person than the Rev. 
Mr. Mazzuchelli. We left him seated upon a stone 
near the building, watching the lazy movements of a 
lone Irishman, who was working out his subscription 
in aid of the church. ' ' 

Just so he must have been remembered by the in- 
habitants of many a frontier town — seated upon a 
stone with the skirts of his mantle tucked up about 



106 



THE PALIMPSEST 



him, overseeing the work upon a church that owed 
to him not only the inspiration for its erection but 
the practical details of its architecture as well. 

In 1839 the arrival of Bishop Loras to take charge 
of the newly created Diocese of Dubuque relieved 
greatly the burden of Mazzuchelli 's work and 
widened the scope of his energies. Wherever he 
went churches sprang up. He made trips up and 
down the river in every kind of weather and over 
every kind of road. A little frame church was the 
result of his work at Potosi, Wisconsin; and at 
Prairie du Chien he drew plans and superintended 
the erection of a stone church a hundred feet in 
length. 

He carried his religious ministrations to Antoine 
Le Claire upon the site of Davenport before that 
town existed. Not many years later, in conjunction 
with Le Claire, he made arrangements for the build- 
ing of a brick church in the new town. He had com- 
plete charge of the building of the first Catholic 
church in Burlington, and when it was finished but 
not yet consecrated he rented it for one session to 
the Legislative Council of the Territory of Iowa and 
was paid three hundred dollars for its use — suffi- 
cient to finish paying the debt incurred in its con- 
struction. 

When Iowa City became the capital of the Terri- 
tory of Iowa and the government offered free sites 
in the town for churches if they were built within a 
given time, the energetic priest hurried over to the 



FATHER MAZZUCHELLI 107 



inland town and made preparations for building a 
church. And when Bishop Loras came in 1841 to 
lay the corner stone, Mazzuchelli, standing on a 
mound of earth thrown up by the excavators, gave 
the address of the occasion. 

So this pioneer priest passed from town to town, 
celebrating mass, visiting the sick and everywhere 
leaving brick and stone monuments to his energy. 
Churches at his inspiration raised their crosses to 
the sky at Maquoketa and Bellevue and Bloomington 
(now Muscatine) in the Territory of Iowa and at 
Shullsburg and Sinsinawa in the Territory of Wis- 
consin. One who knew him well credits twenty 
churches to this far-wandering priest. 

Father Mazzuchelli took a keen interest in things 
political as well as religious. In 1836 he officiated as 
chaplain at the first Fourth of July celebration in 
the town of Dubuque. In the fall of that same year 
he responded to an invitation to open with prayer 
the meeting of the Territorial Legislature of Wis- 
consin at Belmont ; and he never ceased to praise the 
wisdom of the framers of the Federal Constitution 
for allowing religion to exist free from the trammels 
of the political state. 

In February of 1843, having heard much of the 
sect of Mormons, he determined to visit in person 
their prophet, Joseph Smith, at Nauvoo. Being then 
at Burlington he journeyed to Fort Madison, and 
from there passed down the river on the ice and 
across to the Mormon town on the Illinois side, 



108 



THE PALIMPSEST 



where the prophet talked to him at length but un- 
convincingly of the many tnnes he had conversed 
with God in person, of the revelations he had re- 
ceived from St. Paul, and of the golden Book of 
Mormon whose whereabouts an angel had revealed 
to him. 

A few weeks later he started on a long journey 
back to Italy. While there, largely to enlist funds 
for his missionary enterprises, he wrote and pub- 
lished in Italian his Memoirs dealing with the fifteen 
years of his life in America. With characteristic 
modesty he invariably used the third person, speak- 
ing of himself as the Missionary or the Priest, and 
nowhere in the book, not even upon the title-page, 
does his name appear. In 1915, over fifty years 
after his death, the volume was re-published in an 
English translation. 

Mazzuchelli did not stay long in Italy, but returned 
to devote nearly a score of years to additional ser- 
vice in the Upper Mississippi Valley. His later life 
was spent largely in southwestern Wisconsin, and 
since there were many priests now in the field his 
labors were less arduous. But he passed down the 
years with busy feet, founding schools and colleges, 
teaching and preaching and raising new buildings, 
visiting the sick and dying, and now and then with 
unflagging devotion attending the victims of an epi- 
demic like that of 1850 when the ravages of cholera 
swept over southwestern Wisconsin. 

A man of wide interests and versatile talents was 



FATHER MAZZUCHELLI 109 



Father Mazzuchelli. His ability as an architect has 
been mentioned. Aside from the building of 
churches, Archbishop Ireland credits him with hav- 
ing drawn the plans of the first court house in Ga- 
lena, and although he himself makes no mention of 
it in his writings, he is said to have designed the Old 
Stone Capitol at Iowa City. The carving of a beau- 
tiful altar in a chapel in Dubuque is attributed to 
him by Archbishop Ireland. If, as seems probable, 
the maps of the Mississippi Valley and Great Lake 
region which accompany his Memoirs, and the 
frontispiece depicting the habitation and family of a 
Christian Indian, are his, he must have had unusual 
skill with the pen. His memoirs themselves show a 
fine command of language, a genuine love of the 
beautiful in nature and life, and an intense patriot- 
ism for his adopted country. 

He died in 1864, not yet old, and still busy serving 
his fellow men. A sister in Santa Clara College, 
which Mazzuchelli founded in southwestern Wiscon- 
sin, writes of his death : 

^*One bitter night he spent laboring from one 
death bed to another, and dawn overtook him creep- 
ing to his poor little cottage, no fire, no light, for he 
kept no servant, and benumbed and exhausted, he 
was glad to seek some rest. When morning came, 
unable to rise, they found him stricken with pneu- 
monia, and in a few days his hardships were at an 
end forever. He who had served the dying in fever- 
haunted wigwams, in crowded pest houses, in the 



110 THE PALIMPSEST | 

mines, and on the river, added this last sacrifice to \ 

the works of his devoted life/' i 

Ardent but gentle, inspiring yet practical, this | 

energetic Dominican played an unusual part in the i 

development of the West. His life was, throughout, [ 

one of service, but perhaps the keynote lies in those j 

early years of wide and weary travel and church ! 

building. Here he was in very truth a pioneer ; and | 

wherever canoe or sled or his own tireless feet car- . 

ried him, men of varying and of mixed races, of all \ 

creeds and of no creed, were better for the sight of ; 
his kindly face, the sound of his cheering words, and 
the unceasing labors of his hand and mind. 

John C. Pakish 



A Few Martial Memories 



I 

OFF TO THE WARS 

0, Johnnie has gone for to live in a tent — 
They have grafted him into the Army. 

In the spring of 1862, Camp Benton, just west of 
St. Louis, was a rallying point for the volunteers of 
the Northwest. Fifteen or twenty thousand new 
troops occupied it, in tents and barracks; brass 
bands paraded; raw cavalrymen, with unstained 
sabres, stood in long lines learning to cut, thrust and 
*Met the enemy parry '^; infantry with glittering 
weapons were drilling in companies and in regi- 
ments; the silver ringing of bright ramrods in still 
-brighter gun-barrels was heard on every hand; staff 
officers, who had been clerks or unfledged lawyers a 
few weeks previously, galloped about with an air of 
immense responsibility, as though a battle were in 
progress. All was glitter, bustle and excitement. 
* * Now, this is war ' I said to myself, leaning against 
a cannon that had never been fired, and folding my 
arms in the fashion of Napoleon. 

In a couple of days a great number of boxes some- 
what resembling coffins, were hauled to the front of 
our quarters, and we turned out with loud cheers to 
**draw guns'\ They were beautiful Springfield 

111 



112 THE PALIMPSEST 



rifles, as bright as silver, and of the best pattern usec^ 
in either army during the war. It was an exciting | 
moment. When the orderly sergeant handed me one, i 
together with a belt, a bayonet and sheath, a cap-box ] 
and cartridge box, and a brass **U. S.'^ to put on 
the cartridge box, I felt that a great trust was being ; 
reposed in me by the United States government.: 
Many a man has gone to Congress or received a ; . 
Major-GeneraPs commission with less actual mod- !^ 
esty and solemn emotion than I experienced on that i ' 
occasion. And that burnished rifle, so beautiful that ; | 
it seemed fit only to stand in the corner of a parlor, 
or repose in a case of rosewood and velvet, subse 
quently had an obscure but worthy history 
course of the war, from its well-grooved 
hurled more than eight hundred Minie balls in pro- 
test against a Southern Confederacy, and on my last 
battlefield I smashed it against the side of an oak 
tree, that it might never fire a shot for the dissolu- 
tion of the Union. ^ 

Still other things were rapidly given to us. We 
received those horrible-looking regulation felt hats 
which somebody decreed we must wear; also black 
plumes to adorn them ; a brass eagle that resembled 
a peacock in full feather, for the side of a hat; a 
brass bugle for the front ; brass letters and figures to 
denote each man's company and regiment; leather 
*^dog collars'' to span our necks, and much other 

1 Practically the entire Sixteenth Iowa Infantry was captured be- 
fore Atlanta on July 22, 1864 — The Editor. 



r- 7 I , 

3t, subse- |i 
\ In the {j 
barrel, II 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 113 



trumpery — all of which we threw away eventually, 
except the hat. The latter, in time, we lowered a 
story or two, by an ingenious method, and it served 
us well in storms of rain, and in the fierce heats of 
Southern summer. Buttoned and belted and 
strapped, and profusely ornamented, we felt we were 
soldiers indeed, and we pined for gory combat. 
Now and then a straggler would arrive, and after 
gazing on our splendid paraphernalia, he would be 
in a fever of anxiety until he, too, had secured the 
last gewgaw to which he was entitled at the hands of 
a generous Government. ^^Have you drawed your 
bugle yet ? ^ ' became the slang salutation of the camp, 
the original inquiry having been propounded by an 
alarmed rural volunteer to one of his belated com- 
panions. After strutting about with our new weap- 
ons, like so many boys in their first new boots, we 
were ordered to the drill-ground to learn how to 
handle them without impaling one another. 

Early the next morning the drums rattled furi- 
ously, and orders came to pack up instanter and get 
ready to leave for the seat of war. The wildest 
commotion ensued. Every other matter was for- 
gotten, and with eager haste we got into line on the 
parade ground. There we learned the most annoy- 
ing duty of a soldier — to stand in his place like a 
hitching post, perhaps for hours, simply awaiting 
orders. 

We finally stacked arms and had breakfast, but at 
eleven o'clock we marched out of Camp Benton with 



114 



THE PALIMPSEST 



drums beating and colors flying, going we knew not 
where. Three batteries and three regiments of in- 
fantry followed us. The people of St. Louis cheered 
us vociferously all along the route. At 2 o'clock we 
reached the steamboat levee, and our regiment (16th 
Iowa) was packed and crowded on board a miserable 
old craft called the Crescent City. The other regi- 
ments embarked on other boats, and more troops and 
batteries were swiftly ferried across from East St. 
Louis and embarked on still other steamers. At 
dusk our somewhat imposing flotilla swung off, and 
amid the roar and clatter of martial music, and the 
cheering of soldiers and people, we steamed down 
the Mississippi. It was the 1st of April, and our 
commanders told us we would smell gunpowder soon. 

At ten o'clock the next morning we reached 
Cairo, and saluted the beautiful Ohio with a round 
of cheers. Our fleet turned up the Ohio, and on still 
the next daj^ we came to Paducah, Kentucky, at the 
confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Taking 
on plenty of coal, we moved up the Tennessee river 
to join Grant's army, flushed with its recent victory 
at Fort Donelson. The voyage was enchanting. I 
shall remember those lofty blufPs, robed in green 
foliage, bright with blossoms and flowers, to the last 
days of my life. Wild and picturesque scenes lay on 
either side, and strains of music floated on every 
breeze. The weather was balmy and delightful. The 
air was fragrant with the breath of Southern spring. 
We seemed only on a pleasure excursion. We passed 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 115 



Fort Henry without stopping, but close to its battle- 
rent works, constructed on land little above the river 
level, ^^Old Glory floated peacefully above the rid- 
dled ramparts, sentries paced back and forth, and 
troops were encamped near by. 

On the evening of April 5th we arrived at Pitts- 
burg Landing. No wharves, warehouses or dwell- 
ings lined the shore. Not even a clearing was visible. 
We saw only a wooded wilderness. On the east 
shore were richly timbered low lands, subject to 
overflow. On the west side abrupt bluffs rose from 
the water's edge to a height of 150 feet. They were 
broken by deep ravines that came down to the river. 
These towering green highlands were covered with 
magnificent oaks and elms in full foliage, decorated 
here and there by dark mistletoe. In Egyptian 
darkness we disembarked on the west shore, and 
climbing nearly to the summit of the bluff, we 
formed in line and stacked arms. The other regi- 
ments and the artillery companies also disembarked 
and climbed the hill. A very large army seemed 
scattered about. We could see innumerable camp- 
fires far to the front, and martial music floated for 
miles through the woods. Worn out with a voyage 
of hundreds of miles, we spread our blankets and 
went to sleep. It was the night before the battle of 
Shiloh — one of the bloodiest engagements of the 
whole war. 



116 



THE PALIMPSEST 



II 

THE OPENING GUNS OF SHILOH 

So long as there 's truth to unfetter, 
So long as there 's wrong to set right, 
So long as our march is upward, 
So long will the cry be — "Fight". 
So I drink — to defeat or to conquest ; 
To the laurel — or cypress and scar ; 
To danger, to courage, to daring — 
To the glory and grandeur of War. 

Irene F. Brown. 

Early in the morning — very early — I became 
aware that something unusual was occurring. Bous- 
ing with an effort, I staggered to my feet and found 
that other men had also been awakened, and far 
away through the woods we faintly heard bugles 
sounding and heard the distant dull roll of drums, 
mingled with the discharge of fire arms. Interro- 
gating members of a regiment near by, we got the 
answer : 

*^Why, it's the long roll beating." 

**And what's the long rollf we inquired. 

They explained that it was a peculiar roll of the 
drum that is only beaten at a time of great danger 
to an army. Like a fire bell at night, it was a note of 
alarm. It signified the enemy's presence, and called 
the soldiers to arms, in haste. This was news in- 
deed, and a presentiment of impending momentous 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 117 



events seemed for a moment to possess me. Every 
drummer who heard the roll, snatched his drum and 
repeated it. The weird note sounded in every direc- 
tion. We listened intently and were soon startled by 
the roar of artillery, somewhat distant, but frequent 
and heavy. Presently the cannonading became 

nearer, clearer, deadlier than before.'' The crash 
of musketry, in volleys, was heard, far away to the 
front. Staff and field officers began to appear, many 
of them mounted and ^ ^ riding in hot haste ' ' ; and the 
drums of many of the regiments around the landing 
beat the assembly. 

The idea that some kind of a battle was com- 
mencing, had been ridiculed at first, but it was now 
certain that heavy fighting was being done on the 
outer lines. Our drums beat and our regiment 
hastily formed, after which baggage was brought up 
from the landing, ammunition was issued, and we 
were shown how to bite and use cartridges. We got 
orders to cook breakfast, eat it, and get back into 
line. As the roar over in the woods waxed nearer, 
louder, deeper and more terrible, wounded men be- 
gan to appear in great numbers along the road lead- 
ing to the river. The first of them who reached us 
gave a partially correct but exaggerated statement 
of affairs. The army had been surprised by an im- 
mense force of Confederates, they said ; soldiers had 
been shot or bayonetted in their tents; whole regi- 
ments had been captured or massacred; our lines 
had been broken and driven back ; many of our bat- 



118 



THE PALIMPSEST 



teries had been captured, and affairs were growing 
worse every moment. Presently a new class of men 
began to arrive from the field, in limited numbers. 
They were totally uninjured, and some of them had 
no muskets. In reply to any questioning, they said 
their regiments ^^were all cut to pieces,'' and that 
there was no use for them to stay there any longer. 
As time dragged by this class of men became more 
numerous, and the number of regiments that were 
all cut to pieces struck me as being quite appalling. 

The great battle meantime waxed fiercer and 
fiercer, and appeared to be extending over miles and 
miles of ground ; more artillery was getting into line ; 
the concussion of guns grew heavier and more fright- 
ful; and volleys of musketry broke in tremendous 
explosions, one overlapping and drowning the other 
in rapid succession; the leaves on the trees and the 
very air seemed to vibrate with repeated shocks; 
and listening volunteers, fresh from the North, some 
of them slightly pale, abandoned their long cher- 
ished fear that the war might end before they would 
ever do any fighting. 

The preceding night we had slept for the first 
time on a soldier's couch — the ground — little 
dreaming that before we should sleep again the 
surge-like tide of an awful battle would sweep to 
within twenty paces of that spot. It was a Sabbath 
morning, warm, sunny, and with a cloudless sky. I 
thought of the ringing of the church bells in my na- 
tive State, and then I listened with awe to the ter- 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 119 



rible roar of the mighty conflict raging a few miles 
away. It swelled into smooth thunder, varied by 
volleys of artillery, and then broke into redoubled 
violence, lashing and clashing with spasmodic rage. 
It seemed that some vast, devouring force of Nature 
was approaching ; that some furious ocean had been 
poured upon the land, and was leaping and crashing 
its way through crags and abysses to the scene 
where we stood. On the opposite side of the river 
the lowlands were basking in the sunshine that 
streamed through the fresh foliage of the trees, and 
blossoms and flowers were plainly discernible. It 
was a picture of perfect tranquillity. The river was 
like a sheet of glass. Two heavily armed gunboats 
moved slowly back and forth like restless monsters 
fretted with unavailing ire ; and the many transports 
lying along shore were rapidly getting up steam as 
though to fly from a region of disaster. 

Fugitives and wounded men poured past our 
bivouac by hundreds. We had ceased to interrogate 
them, for the reply was invariably the same. A fear- 
ful struggle was in progress. The Union army 
was literally fighting for existence. It was being 
steadily driven back, and had met with enormous 
losses. The attack had been made with consummate 
skill, at the earliest break of dawn. At many por- 
tions of the field, not even picket lines had been sta- 
tioned in front of the Union encampments, and these 
troops were taken by complete surprise.^ Men were 

2 The question of whether or not Grant 's army was taken by sur- 



120 



THE PALIMPSEST 



actually killed on their cots. Rebel soldiers after- 
wards told me that they fired into the tents and the 
Yankees came buzzing out like bees/' At other por- 
tions of the field, pickets were properly stationed. 
Where the blame lies is immaterial. Generals, 
colonels and soldiers knew little about actual war — - 
especially on a large scale. The enemy rushed on in 
three heavy lines of battle, and won everything at 
the outset, but that the battle raged for forty-eight 
hours afterwards, and ended in a rebel defeat, is 
one of the wonders of history. 

Albert Sidney Johnston fell that day, just after 
leading a victorious charge, and at the very moment 
he was waving his thanks to his wildly applauding 
soldiers.^ Just before the battle he had issued to 
them a stirring address, in which he said: 

I have put you in motion to offer battle to the invaders 
of your country. With the resolution and disciplined valor 
becoming men fighting, as you are, for all worth living or 
dying for, you can but march to a decisive victory over 
agrarian mercenaries, sent to subjugate and despoil you of 

prise has been for many years a subject of controversy. For a refu- 
tation of the surprise theory see Rich 's TTie Battle of SMloh. — The 
Editor. 

3 There has been much difference of opinion as to the manner of the 
death of General Johnston. The story recounted by Parkhurst is to 
be found in many of the earlier books dealing with the battle. Later 
writers hav& in several cases maintained that General Johnston was 
engaged in forming the reserves behind the lines when he was hit by 
a stray ball. See Rich's The Death of General Albert Sidney 
Johnston on the Battlefield of Shiloh in The Iowa Journal of History 
and Politics, Vol. XVI, pp. 275-281.— The Editor. 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 121 



your liberties, property, and honor. Remember the pre- 
cious stake involved. Remember the dependence of your 
mothers, your wives, your sisters, and our children on the 
result. Remember the fair, broad, abounding lands, the 
happy homes, and ties that will be desolated by your defeat. 
The eyes and hopes of 8,000,000 of people rest upon you. 
You are expected to show yourselves worthy of your valor 
and lineage; worthy of the women of the South, whose 
noble devotion in this war has never been exceeded in any 
time. With such incentives to brave deeds and with the 
trust that God is with us your generals will lead you confi- 
dently to the combat, assured of success.* 

After breaking a Union line, and driving it back in 
rout, Gen. Johnston was receiving the clamorous 
applause of his soldiers. Three fugitives turned 
around to see what new calamity impended, and they 
guessed him to be a general. Loading their muskets 
as quick as they could, they fired simultaneously.^ 
He fell in his saddle, and died a few moments after- 
wards in the arms of a surgeon. His death caused a 
temporary cessation of the enemy's activity. After 
some delay, that proved valuable to the Union forces, 
Beauregard assumed command. He swore he would 
water his horse in the Tennessee river before sun- 
set,'' and he nearly kept his word.^ The enemy's 

4 This address by General Johnston to his soldiers is printed in the 
War of the Behellion: Official Records, Series I, Vol. X, Pt. II, pp. 
396-397.— The Editor. 

5 See footnote on p. 120.— The Editor. 

6 This famous declaration was made at the beginning of the battle 
hj General Johnston^ not b^ General Beauregard. — The Editor, 



122 



THE PALIMPSEST 



frantic efforts continued. By this time every Union 
regiment was in action. 

Gen. Lew Wallace left Crump's Landing, some- 
where down the river, that morning, with about ten 
thousand men, with rush instructions to reach the 
field promptly, but he got lost in the woods. Had he 
made the march in proper time, he might have won 
imperishable glory. He could have hit the left flank 
and rear of the rebel army, and changed a disastrous 
field into a victorious one. As matters went, he ar- 
rived when the crisis was over — the next morning.'^ 
All day long, hour after hour, the battle raged, and 
the victory seemed to be Beauregard's. 

Ill 

SUNDAY EVENING AT SHILOH 

Their toast to the smoke of the peace pipe, 
As it curls over vintage and sheaves ; 
Over war vessels resting at anchor, 
And the plenty that Peace achieves. 
I drink to the sword and the musket ; 
To Battle's thunder and crash and jar; 
To the screech and the scream of the bullet — 
To onset, to strife and to "War. 

Irene F. Brown. 

It was close to evening. From the hilltop where I 
stood, stretching down the long abrupt slope to the 
river's edge, and off to the left for half a mile, and 

7 General Wallace arrived after dark Sunday evening and during 
the night disposed his troops for battle. — War of the Rebellion: Of- 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 



123 



perhaps a mile, was the wreck of a terribly beaten 
army. Thousands and thousands of men, in the 
apathy of despair, awaited an apparently inevitable 
calamity. BuelPs army was known to be close at 
hand, hurrying toward us, on the other side of the 
river, and officers of every rank from general down, 
were passing through this vast mob and appealing 
to them by everything that civilized men hold sacred 
to get into line and keep the enemy back, if only for 
ten minutes, till Buell could save them from mas- 
sacre. I even saw a girl of eighteen stand on a 
stump like another Joan of Arc, and deliver a pas- 
sionate harangue. She was in Zouave uniform — 
some daughter of a regiment'^ — and her burning 
words produced astonishing effect. 

We had but a little ways to go, and barely a mo- 
ment to take in the situation. A long line of artillery 
stretched otf to the right, some of the pieces being 
heavy enough to shatter the walls of a fortress at 
one discharge. The enemy was throwing a few 
shells. 

At once there rose so wild a yell, 
It seemed that all the fiends that fell 
Had pealed the banner cry of Hell. 

Thousands and thousands of infuriated men poured 
in to sight with fixed bayonets, yelling like demons. 

ficial Becords, Series I, Vol. X, Pt. II, pp. 170, 176, 188, 193, 196, 
197. For a discussion of General Wallace's march to the battlefield, 
see Eich's General Lew. Wallace at Shiloh in The Iowa Journal of 
History and Politics, Vol. XVIII, pp. 301-308.— The Editor. 



324 THE PALIMPSEST 

It seemed that the earth had vomited forth a new- 
rebel army. ^'Bull's Run! BulPs Run! Bull's 
Run!'' they shrieked at the tops of their voices. 
They hoped to stampede us in sheer terror.. We fired 
by instinct. Almost at the same time our massed 
park of artillery hurled barrels of grape and can- 
ister into their naked ranks. Their yells were 
drowned in the roar, but on they came, the living 
trampling over the dead. No commands were given 
us. No man's voice could have been heard. Every 
man loaded and fired with frantic haste. Smoke rose 
before us, in clouds. Suddenly a tempest of musket 
balls flew hissing around us. We knew we had 
checked the charge, for troops on a charge seldom 
fire. The combat deepened. A terrific and super- 
natural noise alarmed me. It seemed like some 
enormous projectile ripping the air open. I in- 
stinctively crouched to the earth. It passed in the 
direction of the enemy, diagonally, and fell among 
them. I imagined I heard it bursting, and that I saw 
the flames of its explosion. It was a huge shell from 
one of the gunboats. Others followed in swift suc- 
cession, scattering death and havoc wherever they 
fell. They were thrown with astonishing precision. 

An unusual crash of musketry to the left caught 
my attention. Glancing across the road I saw that a 
long double line of infantry had just poured a volley 
into the foe. Where I fought, our line was ragged 
and disordered. Some were standing erect, some 
were lying down, some w^ere fighting on one knee, 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 125 



and some were behind logs, stumps and trees. But 
every man of that line stood erect, in splendid order. 
They were fresh troops from BuelPs command. The 
rest was like a horrible dream. We loaded and fired 
and smoke enveloped us. The ground trembled be- 
neath our feet. We were in a whirlwind of smoke, 
fire and missiles. It was so near night that our 
muskets flashed fire. Our cannons belched forth 
streams of fire. At times I saw gunners standing 
erect, ramrods in hand, like silhouettes against a 
^ background of fire. At length bullets ceased to fall 
among us. I dreaded a new charge. Then the fire 
began to slacken all along our line, we began to hear 
cheers, we ceased firing, and knew that the conflict 
had ended. Then, amid the lifting clouds of smoke, 
and amid the dead and dying, powder-grimed and 
streaming with perspiration, Ave snatched off our 
hats and cheered and yelled like maniacs. We had 
repulsed the foe, and the first day^s carnage at least 
was over. 

As I was getting into place at the line of battle, 
just before the enemy ^s onset, T hastily viewed a 
most melancholy circumstance. On the left hand 
side of the road, on the summit of the hill stood an 
old log cabin, and around it were innumerable tents 
— I cannot say how many, for they stretched to the 
left — and every one of those tents was filled with 
wounded soldiers. Musket balls were already 
piercing the canvas, and I saw men running with 
stretchers to remove the wounded. All that stood 



126 



THE PALIMPSEST 



between those tents and the storming columns of the 
foe was a hurriedly forming and ragged line of 
battle. The line must have been within a yard of the 
tents, or may have been formed down through them, 
the outer tents being torn down. Imagine the agony 
of a man with a shattered leg or with a Minie ball 
through his lungs being jolted ofl in a stretcher by 
two excited, rough and incompetent men. Imagine 
this being done under a fire of musketry, with shells 
bursting plentifully around, and tremendous excite- 
ment prevailing. Or worse yet, suppose he had been 
left behind, shorn of the strength he possessed an 
hour before, and must lie helpless on his blood- 
drenched couch with screaming missiles rending his 
tent to tatters, and inflicting additional wounds. I 
did not see the result, but great numbers of those 
men must have been killed on the cots where they 
were lying. 

We had no sooner reached the line of battle than a 
shell came shrieking through the air, and fell not 
twenty feet in front of us. It whirled there a mo- 
ment and exploded. A soldier fell forward on his 
breast, and a comrade ran to his side, and taking him 
by the shoulders, lifted him up. Then we saw that 
his face and throat were blown or cut off, and the 
blood spurted in great jets or streams from the 
veins and arteries of his neck, and his friend 
dropped the quivering trunk to the ground with a 
look of horror. It was the ghastliest sight I saw in 
the war. We hear orators rant about men spilling 



A FEW MARTIAL MEMORIES 127 



their blood on the altar of their country. That man 
literally poured out all the blood in his veins on the 
barren soil of a Tennessee hill, that the flag that 
floats in triumph today might continue an emblem 
of nationality and power. 

Immediately after the repulse of the foe, and when 
triumphal cheers were ceasing, we began to hear 
different and more piteous sounds. They were the 
moans of the wounded and dying. I even heard 
horses sending forth sounds that seemed like ap- 
peals for human sympathy and assistance. Indis- 
tinctly seen, but all around us, was blood — on the 
ground, on the trees, on the guns that had swept the 
foe so terribly, on the prostrate forms of the slain, 
and even on men who were walking about, glowing 
with the enthusiasm of victory. 

Troops were pouring up the road from the land- 
ing. They were soldiers of BuelPs army. The 
steamers were ferrying them across the river as fast 
as possible, and bands of music were playing on the 
steamers. These men had been in the service some 
little time, and betrayed evidence of training and 
discipline. They passed us, and deployed in line of 
battle some distance beyond us, for the enemy's 
forces had retired about half a mile. The Buell 
troops that got into action that evening numbered 
only a few thousand, but they rendered invaluable 
aid at a critical moment.^ They were led by the im- 

8 Only a part of Colonel Ammen's brigade of General Nelson divi- 
sion actually got into the fight on Sunday evening. These troops 



128 



THE PALIMPSEST 



petiioiis General Nelson, who was afterwards killed 
in a Louisville hotel hy one of our own generals- 
Nelson was a proud, arrogant, overbearing man, but 
he was a most heroic military leader — utterly with- 
out fear. I saw him on horseback at the road, under 
the full fire of the enemy, but did not know until the 
next morning who he was. 

A rapid re-organization of Grant ^s forces ensued; 
the rolls were called, arms were stacked in line; 
those of us who had any rations, ate them, after 
which, exhausted with the day's toils and intense 
excitement, we spread our blankets on the ground 
and were soon sleeping soundly. 

Our bugles sang trace — for the night cloud had lowered, 
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky; 
And thousands had sunk to the ground over-powered, 
The weary to sleep and the wounded to die. 

Clinton Parkhukst, 
Co. C, 16th Iowa Infantry. 

could doubtless be numbered in hundreds rather than thousands. — 
War of the Behellion: Official Eecords, Series I, Vol. X, Pt. II, pp. 
328, 333-334, 337.— The Editor. 



Comment by the Editor 

A MOSAIC 

History is made up of mosaics with many pieces 
gone. For some days we have been trying to 
put together the fragments of a biographical mosaic, 
but there are still more vacant places than there are 
colored stones. Probably some of the readers of 
The Palimpsest can supply the missing pieces. Back 
in the thirties, when the name of Antoine Le Claire 
was one to conjure with, the town of Le Claire was 
laid out on the bank of the Mississippi above Daven- 
port. And alongside of it, about the same time, 
Eleazer Parkhurst and T. C. Eads began another 
village. It was named Parkhurst after Eleazer who 
was its first settler, its first postmaster, and its lead- 
ing citizen. After him came Lemuel Parkhurst and 
Waldo Parkhurst and others of the clan who built 
houses and opened stores and helped keep up the 
rivalry with the adjacent village of Le Claire. 

After various fortunes and misfortunes, including 
the change of the name of their town to Berlin, the 
followers of Eleazer agreed to join the rivals across 
the way, and in 1855 a new town of Le Claire was 
incorporated which included the original Parkhurst. 

From the town of Le Claire on February 12, 1862, 
an eighteen year old boy, Clinton Parkhurst, en- 

129 



130 



THE PALIMPSEST 



listed in the Sixteenth Iowa Infantry. It was a new 
regiment and did not receive ammunition until the 
morning of April 6, when it entered the Battle of 
Shiloh. Clinton Parkhurst's impressions of this 
conflict are told in A Few Martial Memories in this 
number. 

Other battles followed, and between the times of 
desperate fighting there was foraging and skirmish- 
ing, long days in camp and on the march, and weary 
night watches. A year passed — two years — then, 
one summer day in 1864 in the Atlanta campaign, 
the gallant Sixteenth Iowa, fighting to the last, was 
surrounded and practically the entire regiment was 
forced to surrender. So Clinton Parkhurst, after 
swinging his rifle against a tree to put it out of com- 
mission,, ceased fighting for a time and became an 
inmate of Andersonville Prison. But after a few 
months the men of the Sixteenth were exchanged 
and returned to combat service. 

In the summer of 1865, Parkhurst was mustered 
out at Clinton, Iowa. He was still hardly more than 
a boy, but the years in camp and battle line and 
prison had deepened his life and given him a heritage 
of experiences which he never lost. 

More than fifty years had gone by since the Battle 
of Shiloh. The lusty young soldiers who had gath- 
ered at reunions after the war and sung ^^We're 
Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp G-round'* — just 
as the boys of the American Legion today sing 



COMMENT BY THE EDITOR 131 



''Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag"— 
were fewer in number and their voices were begin- 
ning to quaver as they sang. Their blue uniforms 
which had been the emblem of youth were now the 
garments of age. In June, 1913, there came to the 
State Historical Society an envelope containing the 
manuscript of A Few Martial Memories written out 
painstakingly in longhand and signed by ''Clint 
Parkhurst, 16th Iowa Infantry". There was some- 
thing almost startling in the fresh vividness of the 
account coming to light a half century after the 
event. No letter accompanied the manuscript. The 
only clue to an address was the postmark on the en- 
velope: " Marshalltown, Iowa". A letter addressed 
to Mr. Clint Parkhurst at that place brought no re- 
ply. A friend living in Marshalltown reported no 
trace of such a person. Sometime afterward a letter 
written to the Commandant of the Iowa Soldiers' 
Home at Marshalltown was answered as follows : 

"Clinton Parkhurst was admitted to this Home 
November 15, 1895 and he deserted this Home on 
August 22, 1913, and we have heard nothing of him 
since. ' ' 

The rest of the mosaic is missing. What did he do 
in those thirty years between his mustering out in 
1865 and his entering the Soldiers' Home in 1895? 
They were the prime of his life — from his twenty- 
first to his fifty-first years. The List of Ex-Soldiers, 
Sailors and Marines Living in Iowa, published in 



I 



132 



THE PALIMPSEST 



1886 by the Adjutant General of the State, does not 
contain his name. Probably he had moved out of the 
State. He served throughout the war as a private 
and perhaps took similar rank in civil life. The 
chances are that his comings and goings were little 
noted. Yet we have not had from the pen of any 
officer on either side any more vivid glimpses of 
Shiloh than these Feiv Martial Memories by Clinton 
Parkhurst. 

And then, after eighteen years in the Iowa Sol- 
diers' Home, he deserted''. Somewhere, still, he 
may be alive, dreaming oftentimes perhaps of the 
beauty of the Sabbath morning when the long roll 
stirred the air at Pittsburg Landing, of the calmness 
of the Tennessee River lying '^like a sheet of glass" 
between the highlands where the battle was raging, 
and the opposite shore where ^'the lowlands were 
basking in the sunshine that streamed through the 
fresh foliage of the trees, and blossoms and flowers 
were plainly discernible." The boy who listened 
that day to the increasing roar of the conflict and 
thought of the ringing of the Sabbath morning 
church bells in his native State would now be sev- 
enty-six years old. We hope he is still living and we 
take this means of thanking him for the opportunity 
to preserve his impressions of Shiloh. 



J. C. P. 





JTl^ Note ' 143 

/ _ Bertha M: H, Shambaugh 

Throiig^i feurojlME^^^ " 14^ 
BELTRAMf, Murray,, 

> : ; : -"BREMMSSANE^r^i^^^ 

Comment 166 

Published Monthly At Iowa Qty By 
IHE SlME HliMcii ScillEIYOTlOm: ' 

PLICATION FOR ENTRY AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POST OFFICE AT IOWA CITY IOWA PEN 



THE PURPOSE OF THIS MAGAZINE 

The Palimpsest, issued monthly by The State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the disseihina- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive arid a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 

Superintendent 



THE MEANING OF PALIMPSESTS 

In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures were not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 



PRICE — 10c per copy : $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 



The Palimpsest 

EDITED BY JOHN C. PARISH 
Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. I Issued in November 1920 No. 5 

copyright 1920 BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA 

A Geological Palimpsest 

Iowa is very, very old — as old as the Mils, and 
older. So old, in truth, is this fair land that no mat- 
ter at what period the story is begun whole eternities 
of time stretch back to ages still more remote. Sea- 
sons without number have come and gone. Soft 
winds of spring have caressed a dormant nature into 
consciousness; things have lived in the warmth of 
summer suns ; then the green of youth has invariably 
changed to the brown and gold of a spent cycle ; and 
winter winds have thrown a counterpane of snow 
over the dead and useless refuse of departed life. 
For some creatures the span of life has been but a 
single day; others have witnessed the passing of a 
hundred seasons ; a few giant plants have weathered 
the gales of four thousand years : but only the rocks 
have endured since the earth was formed. To the 
hills and valleys the seasons of man are as night and 
day, while the ages of ice are as winter, and the mil- 
lions of years intervening as summer. 

133 



I 



134 



THE PALIMPSEST 



Through stately periods of time the earth has 
evolved. Mud has turned to stone, the sea has given 
place to land, mountains and molehills have raised 
their heights, and tiny clams have laid down their 
shells to form the limestone and the marble for the 
future dwellings of a nobler race. Since the first 
soft protozoan form emerged in the distant dawn of 
life, myriads of types from amoebas to men have 
spread their kind through endless generations. By 
far the greater number have lived true to form; but 
a few have varied from the normal type the better to 
maintain themselves; and slowly, as eons of time 
elapsed, old species died and new ones came into 
existence. Thus mice and mastodons evolved. 

**A11 the world's a stage" for the drama of life 
wherein creatures of every kind — large and small, 
spined and spineless, chinned and finned — have had 

their exits and their entrances" along the streams, 
on the plains, among the mountains, in the forests, 
and on the floor of the ocean. The theme of the play 
has been strife, and all through the acts, be they 
comic or tragic, two great forces have always con- 
tended. The one has aimed at construction, the 
other has sought to destroy. The air and the water 
were ever at odds with the earth, while the principal 
objects of animal life have always been to eat and 
escape being eaten. No one knows when the play 
began, no one knows the end; but the story as told 
by the rocks is as vivid as though it were written by 
human hand. This drama of life is the history of 
Iowa before the advent of man. 



A GEOLOGICAL PALIMPSEST 135 



The record begins at a time when Iowa was under 
the sea. The only inhabitants were plants and an- 
imals that lived in the water. Very simple in struc- 
ture they were : it was the age of the algae in plant 
life while in the animal kingdom the noblest creatures 
were worms. The duration of time that the sea re- 
mained is altogether beyond comprehension. Slow- 
ly, ever so slowly, the dashing waves crumbled the 
rocks on the shore and the rivers brought down from 
the land great volumes of sand to be laid on the floor 
of the ocean. Ten millions of years elapsed, per- 
haps more, until at the bottom of the sea there lay 
the sediment for thousands of feet of proterozoic 
rock. This is the story as told by the Sioux Falls 

granite'' in northwestern Iowa. 

After a great while the sea over Iowa receded. 
Then, for possibly two million years, the rocky sur- 
face of the land was exposed to wind and rain. Over 
the vast expanse of barren territory not a sign of 
life appeared. No carpet of grass protected the 
earth from the savage attacks of the water ; no clump 
of trees broke the monotony of the level horizon : the 
whole plateau was a desert. As the centuries passed 
deep gorges were carved by the streams, and at last 
the down-tearing forces succeeded in reducing the 
land almost to the sea level. 

Gradually from the south the sea encroached upon 
the land until all of Iowa was again submerged. Its 
history during the next ten thousand centuries or 
more is told by sandstone cliffs in Allamakee County. 



136 



THE PALIMPSEST 



All sorts of spineless creatures lived in the water. 
Crab-like trilobites swam to and fro, ugly sea worms 
crawled in the slime of Cambrian fens, the prim- 
itive nautilus ^'spread his lustrous coiP* and left 
his '^outgrown shell by life's unresting sea'', while 
jellyfish and sponges dwelt in quiet places near the 
shore. 

At last a new age dawned. The all-pervading sea 
still held dominion over nearly all of North America. 
So small was the area of land that the sand carried 
away by the streams was lost on the bed of the ocean. 
The principal upbuilding forces were the primeval 
molluscs that deposited their calcium carbonate 
shells in the shallow arms of the ocean. By imper- 
ceptible accretions the Ordovician limestones of 
northeastern Iowa were formed. Gradually the 
water receded and the newly made rocks were ex- 
posed to the weather. As the floods from summer 
showers trickled into the earth during the ages that 
followed some of the minerals were dissolved and 
carried away to be stored in cavities and crevices to 
form the lead mines for Julien Dubuque. That was 
millions of years ago. 

Centuries elapsed while the Iowa country was a 
desert-like waste. Then again the sea invaded with 
its hosts of crabs, corals, and worms. Thousands of 
years fled by while shell by shell the Anamosa lime- 
stone grew. But as the world turned on in the 
lathe of time" the sea crept back to its former haunts 
and the land once more emerged. 



A GEOLOGICAL PALIMPSEST 137 



No longer was Iowa a desert. The time had ar- 
rived when living things came out of the water and 
found a home on the land. The ferns were among 
the first of the plants to venture ashore and then 
came the rushes. Forests of gigantic horsetails and 
clubmosses grew in the lowlands. Slimy snails 
moved sluggishly along the stems of leafless weeds, 
while thousand-legged worms scooted in and out of 
the mold. Dread scorpions were abroad in the land. 

It was the age of the fishes when the ocean re- 
turned and the process of rockmaking was resumed. 
Endless varieties of fish there were, some of them 
twenty feet long, and armed with terrible mandibles. 
Enormous sharks infested the sea where now are the 
prairies of Iowa. The crinoids and molluscs were 
also abundant. It is they, indeed, that have pre- 
served the record of their times in the bluffs of the 
Cedar and Iowa rivers. He who will may read the 
chronicles of those prehistoric days in the limestone 
walls of the Old Stone Capitol. 

Then came a time when the climate of Iowa was 
tropical. Vast salt marshes were filled with rank 
vegetation. Ugly amphibians, scaled and tailed, 
croaked beneath the dripping boughs and left their 
trail in the hardened sand as they fed on the primitive 
dragonflies millions of centuries ago. Cockroaches 
and spiders were plentiful, but not a fly or a bee had 
appeared. Giant trees, enormous ferns, and ever- 
present rushes stored up the heat of summer suns 
and dying, fell into the water. As thousands of 



138 THE PALIMPSEST 

years went by, the reedy tarns turned into peat bogs 
and slowly decomposition continued until little but 
carbon remained. Such is the story the coal mines 
tell. 

But the old earth heaved amain, the Appalachian 
mountains arose, and here and there a great salt lake 
or an inland sea was formed. The supply of fresh 
water was exceeded by evaporation and so at the end 
of a long period of time only a salt bed remained or 
an extensive deposit of gypsum. So it has come to 
pass that in the age of man stucco comes from the 
Fort Dodge gypsum mines that were prepared at the 
end of the Paleozoic era. 

Enormous segments of geologic time elapsed dur- 
ing which the sea had receded and Iowa was exposed 
to erosion. At first the climate was arid so that 
plant life was scarce, but as humidity increased veg- 
etation developed apace. In the animal kingdom 
the reptiles were dominant. Crocodiles, lizards, and 
queer looking turtles were here in abundance. Gi- 
gantic and ungainly monsters called dinosaurs 
roamed over the land, while from the flying Jurassic 
saurians the birds were slowly evolving. 

During countless ages the wind and water were 
engaged in their persistent work of destruction. 
Graduallj^ the land was reduced to the sea level and 
the ocean crept in over Iowa. This time the water 
was muddy and shale and sandstone resulted. As 
sedimentation progressed great marshes appeared 
by the seashore and finally the ocean receded, never 



A GEOLOGICAL PALIMPSEST 139 



again to encroach upon Iowa. In the west the lofty 
peaks of the Eockies were rising. 

Permanently disenthralled from the sea and pos- 
sessed of a favorable climate Iowa became the abode 
of the flora and fauna of Tertiary times. To the east 
the Mississippi River probably followed its present 
course, though its mouth was much farther north, 
but the streams of interior Iowa were not in all 
cases where we find them at present. The valleys 
were young and the drainage was very imperfect. 
Luxuriant forests of oak, poplar, hickory, fig, willow, 
chestnut, and palm trees covered the hills, while 
moss-mantled cypresses grew in the marshes. 
There were flowers for the first time in Iowa, 
and with them came the bees and the butter- 
flies. The ancestors of squirrels and opossums 
busied themselves among the branches while below 
on the ground there were creatures that took the 
place of beavers and gophers. Giant razor-back 
swine and something akin to rhinoceroses haunted 
the banks of the streams. In the open spaces there 
were species that closely resembled cattle, while 
from others deer have descended. An insignificant 
creature with three-toed hoofs passed himself off for 
a horse. All sorts of dog-like animals prowled 
through the forests and howled in the moonlit 
wastes. Stealthy panthers and fierce saber-toothed 
tigers quietly stalked their prey, while above in the 
branches large families of monkeys chattered defi- 
ance to all. Bright colored birds flitted in the sunny 



140 



THE PALIMPSEST 



glades or among the shadowy recesses. Snakes, liz- 
ards, and turtles basked on half-submerged logs or 
fed upon insects. 

The majestic sweep of geologic ages finally 
brought to an end the era of temperate climate in 
Iowa, and after hundreds of thousands of years 
ushered in the era of ice. It may have been more 
than two million years ago that the climate began to 
grow rigorous. All through the long, bleak winters 
the snow fell and the summers were too cool to melt 
it. So year by year and century after century the 
snow piled higher and higher, until the land was cov- 
ered with a solid sheet of ice. The plants and ani- 
mals suffered extinction or migrated southward. 

As this ponderous glacier moved over the surface 
of Iowa it ground down the hills and filled up the 
valleys. Slowly the ice sheet moved southward, 
crushing the rocks into fragments and grinding the 
fragments to powder. At length there came a time 
when the climate grew milder and the ice was grad- 
ually melted. Swollen and turbid streams carried 
away the water and with it some of the earth that 
was frozen into the glacier, but much of the debris 
was left where it lay. Even with the slow movement 
of glaciers, still there was time during the ice age for 
huge granite boulders to be carried from central 
Canada to the prairies of Iowa. 

The first glaciation was followed by an interval 
of temperate climate w^hen vegetation flourished and 
the animals returned as before. But the age of the 



A GEOLOGICAL PALIMPSEST 



141 



glaciers was only beginning. Again and again the 
ice crept down from the north and as often disap- 
peared. Twice the glacier extended all over Iowa, 
but the three other invasions covered only a part of 
this region. Kivers were turned out of their 
courses. At one time an ice sheet from Labrador 
pushed the Mississippi about fifty miles to the west- 
ward, but in time the river returned to its old course, 
and the abandoned channel was partly appropriated 
by the Maquoketa, Wapsipinicon, Cedar, and Iowa. 
Again, as the ice retreated great lakes were formed, 
and once for hundreds of years the waters of Lake 
Michigan flowed into the Mississippi along the course 
of the Chicago drainage canal. 

The earliest glaciers laid down the impervious 
subsoil of clay while the later ones mingled powdered 
rock with the muck and peat of the inter-glacial 
periods to form the loam of the fertile Iowa farms. 
Probably a hundred thousand years have fled since 
the last glacier visited north-central Iowa, but the 
region is still too young to be properly drained, so 
nature is assisted by dredges and tile. It was dur- 
ing the glacial period that mankind came into ex- 
istence, but no man trod Iowa soil until after the last 
glacier was gone. Compared with the inconceivable 
eons of time since the first Iowa rocks were formed, 
it was only as yesterday that the ancient mound 
builders flourished. 

Such is the geological history of Iowa. No one 
can say when the first record was made, but the 



142 



THE PALIMPSEST 



story tlirough all of the ages is indelibly carved in 
rock by the feet and forms of the mummied dead that 
lie where they lived. Age after age, as the sea and 
the land contended and the species struggled to live, 
the drama of the world was faithfully recorded. 
Sometimes, to be sure, the story is partly erased, 
sometimes it is lost beneath subsequent records, but 
at some place or other in Iowa a fragment of each 
act may be found. The surface of Iowa is a palimp- 
sest of the ages. 

John E. Beiggs 



The Iowa Home Note 



Hark ! the meadow-lark is singing 

From the weathered haycock's ledge, 
And the robin in the orchard 

Blithely carols forth his joy; 
While the turtle-dove is calling 

From the tangled osage hedge, 
And the cardinal is whistling 

Like a happy barefoot boy. 

And the song that floats triumphant 

From the meadow and the lane 
Is the song of rustling cornfields 

Where the winds of midday sigh, 
'Tis the song of Iowa prairies — 

Gilded seas of waving grain 
When the round red sun is setting 

In a glomng opal sky. 

'Tis the song of Iowa rivers 

With their sunlit wooded hills, 
And of roadsides decked with blossoms 

That would grace a hallowed shrine. 
'Tis the throbbing Iowa Home Note 

That reverberates and thrills 
In the farm and village echoes — 

Just as in your heart and mine. 

Bertha M. H. Shambaugh 



143 



Through European Eyes 



An exiled Italian traveller, an English master of 
the Queen's household, a Swedish novelist, and a 
Scotch writer known the world over, are among the 
many who have visited the Iowa country and w^rit- 
ten their impressions. And since it is well to '^see 
oursels as ithers see ns", we are presenting here 
the comments of Giacomo Constantino Beltrami, 
Charles Augustus Murray, Fredrika Bremer, and 
Eobert Louis Stevenson. 

GIACOMO CONSTANTINO BELTRAMI — 1823 

Of these four, Beltrami was first upon the scene. 
In 1823 he came into the Upper Mississippi Valley 
by the route best known in those days — down the 
Ohio Eiver and up the Mississippi. His Latin imag- 
ination was stirred and in his writings he waxed 
eloquent over the Mississippi River, even while he 
was voyaging along that stretch of water lying be- 
tween Cairo and St. Louis which Charles Dickens 
later spoke of as *4he hateful Mississippi and *^a 
slimy monster hideous to behold''. 

William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition, 
was a boat companion as far as St. Louis, and 
Major Taliaferro, Indian agent at Fort St. Anthony, 
accompanied Beltrami up the river to that pioneer 
post. After brief sojourns at St. Louis and Fort 
Edwards the travellers reached the rapids near the 

144 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 145 



mouth of the Des Moines Eiver and began their 
observation of the edge of the land that was to be 
Iowa, but whereon at the time there was not a soli- 
tary white settlement. Beltrami's account follows:^ 

*'The next day we ascended, though not without 
difficulty, these rapids, which continue for the space 
of twenty-one miles, when we saw another encamp- 
ment of Saukis upon the eastern bank. 

*^Nine miles higher, on the western bank, are the 
ruins of the old Fort Madison. 

*^The president of that name had established an 
entrepot of the most necessary articles for the In- 
dians, to be exchanged for their peltry. The object 
of the government was not speculation, but, by its 
example, to fix reasonable prices among the traders ; 
for, in the United States, everybody traffics except 
the government. Fearing, however, the effect of any 
restraint on the trade of private individuals, it has 
withdrawn its factories and agents, and left the field 
open to the South West Company, which has been 
joined by a rival company, and now monopolizes the 
commerce of almost the whole savage region of the 
valleys of the Mississippi and the Missouri. Its two 
principal centres of operations are St. Louis and 
Michilimakinac, on lake Huron. 

**At a short distance from this fort, on the same 
side, is the river of the Bete Puante, and farther on, 
that of the Yahowas, so called from the name of the 

1 Beltrami's A Pilgrimage in Europe and America, Vol. II, pp. 
150-152. 



146 



THE PALIMPSEST 



savage tribes whicli inhabited its banks. It is 
ninety-seven miles from Fort Edward, and three 
hundred from St. Louis. 

^*The fields were beginning to resume their ver- 
dure; the meadows, groves, and forests were re- 
viving at the return of spring. Never had I seen 
nature more beautiful, more majestic, than in this 
vast domain of silence and solitude. Never did the 
warbling of the birds so expressively declare the 
renewal of their innocent loves. Every object was 
as new to my imagination as to my eye. 

**A11 around me breathed that melancholy, which, 
by turns sweet and bitter, exercises so powerful an 
influence over minds endowed with sensibility. How 
ardently, how often, did I long to be alone ! 

Wooded islands, disposed in beautiful order by 
the hand of nature, continually varied the picture: 
the course of the river, which had become calm and 
smooth, reflected the dazzling rays of the sun like 
glass ; smiling hills formed a delightful contrast with 
the immense prairies, which are like oceans, and the 
monotony of which is relieved by isolated clusters of 
thick and massy trees. These enchanting scenes 
lasted from the river Yahowa till we reached a place 
which presents a distant and exquisitely blended 
view of what is called Rocky Island, three hundred 
and seventy-two miles from St. Louis, and one hun- 
dred and sixty from Fort Edward. Fort Armstrong, 
at this spot, is constructed upon a plateau^ at an ele- 
vation of about fifty feet above the level of the river, 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 



147 



and rewards the spectator who ascends it with the 
most magical variety of scenery. It takes its name 
from Mr. Armstrong, who was secretary at war at 
the time of its construction. 

*^The eastern bank at the mouth of Rocky River 
was lined with an encampment of Indians, called 
Foxes. Their features, dress, weapons, customs, 
and language, are similar to those of the Saukis, 
whose allies they are, in peace and war. On the 
western shore of the Mississippi, a semicircular hill, 
clothed with trees and underwood, encloses a fertile 
spot carefully cultivated by the garrison, and formed 
into fields and kitchen gardens. The fort saluted us 
on our arrival with four discharges of cannon, and 
the Indians paid us the same compliment with their 
muskets. The echo, which repeated them a thousand 
times, was most striking from its contrast with the 
deep repose of these deserts.'' 

A day was spent with the polite gentlemen of the 
garrison'' and in visiting the Sac Indians on the 
Illinois shore. As the voyagers proceeded north- 
ward, they passed a Fox village on the western bank. 
At one point Beltrami went ashore and succeeded in 
shooting a rattlesnake. He visited Galena and then 
passed on to *^the mines of Dubuques".^ 

**A Canadian of that name was the friend of a 
tribe of the Foxes, who have a kind of village here. 

2 Beltrami's A Pilgrimage in Europe and America, Vol. II, pp. 
163-165. 



148 



THE PALIMPSEST 



In 1788, these Indians granted him permission to 
work the mines. His establishment flourished; but 
the fatal sisters cut the thread of his days and of 
his fortune. 

^'He had no children. The attachment of the In- 
dians was confined to him ; and, to get rid as soon as 
possible of the importunities of those who wanted to 
succeed him, they burnt his furnaces, warehouses, 
and dwelling-house; and by this energetic measure, 
expressed the determination of the red people to 
have no other whites among them than such as they 
liked. . . . 

^'The Indians still keep exclusive possession of 
these mines, and with such jealousy, that I was 
obliged to have recourse to the all-powerful whiskey 
to obtain permission to see them. 

^'They melt the lead into holes which they dig in 
the rock, to reduce it into pigs. They exchange it 
with the traders for articles of the greatest neces- 
sity; but they carry it themselves to the other side 
of the river, which they will not suffer them to pass. 
Notwithstanding these precautions, the mines are so 
valuable, and the Americans so enterprising, that I 
much question whether the Indians will long retain 
possession of them. 

^'Dubuques reposes, with royal state, in a leaden 
chest contained in a mausoleum of wood, which the 
Indians erected to him upon the summit of a small 
hill that overlooks their camps and commands the 
river. 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 149 



* * This man was become their idol, because he pos- 
sessed, or pretended to possess, an antidote to the 
bite of the rattle-snake. Nothing but artifice and 
delusion can render the red people friendly to the 
whites: for, both from instinct, and from feelings 
transmitted from father to son, they cordially de- 
^spise and hate them.'' 

CHARLES AUGUSTUS MUREAY — 1835 

A dozen years later the Honorable Charles Augus- 
tus Murray, who announced his English blood in 
every line of his charming ^ * Travels in North Amer- 
ica'', came up the Mississippi. According to 
Thwaites, Murray was a grandson of Lord Dun- 
more, last colonial governor of Virginia, and him- 
self master of the Queen's household". At the foot 
of the rapids which Beltrami had noted, he found a 
white settlement. He comments as follows:^ 

**This village of Keokuk is the lowest and most 
blackguard place that I have yet visited : its popula- 
tion is composed chiefly of the watermen who assist 
in loading and unloading the keel-boats, and in tow- 
ing them up when the rapids are too strong for the 
steam-engines. They are a coarse and ferocious 
caricature of the London bargemen, and their chief 
occupation seems to consist in drinking, fighting, and 
gambling. One fellow who was half drunk, (or in 
western language * corned') was relating with great 
satisfaction how he had hid himself in a wood that 

3 Murray 's Travels in North America, Vol. II, pp. 96-97. 



150 



THE PALIMPSEST 



skirted the road, and (in time of peace) had shot an 
unsuspecting and inoffensive Indian who was pass- 
ing with a wild turkey over his shoulder: he con- 
cluded by saying that he had thrown the body into a 
thicket, and had taken the bird home for his own 
dinner. He seemed quite proud of this exploit, and 
said that he would as soon shoot an Indian as a fox 
or an otter. I thought he was only making an idle 
boast ; but some of the bystanders assured me it was 
a well-known fact, and yet he had never been either 
tried or punished. This murderer is called a Chris- 
tian, and his victim a heathen ! It must, however, be 
remembered, that the feelings of the border settlers 
in the West were frequently exasperated by the rob- 
beries, cruelties, and outrages of neighbouring In- 
dians ; their childhood was terrified by tales of the 
scalping-knife, sometimes but too well founded, and 
they have thus been brought to consider the Indian 
rather as a wild beast than as a fellow-creature. ' ' 

At Keokuk three-fourths of the cargo was trans- 
ferred to a keel boat to lighten the load so that the 
boat could ascend the rapids. Murray continues : 

^^The rapids are about fourteen miles long, and at 
the top of them is a military post or cantonment 
called Fort des Moines.^ This site appears to me to 
have been chosen with singularly bad judgment ; it is 
low, unhealthy, and quite unimportant in a military 
point of view : moreover, if it had been placed at the 

4 Murray 's Travels in North America, Vol. II, pp. 98-100. 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 151 



lower, instead of the upper end of the rapids, an im- 
mense and useless expense would have been spared 
to the government, inasmuch as the freightage of 
every article conveyed thither is now doubled. The 
freight on board the steamer, from which I made 
these observations, was twenty-five cents per hun- 
dred weight from St. Louis to Keokuk, being one 
hundred and seventy miles, and from St. Louis to 
the fort, being only fourteen miles farther, it was 
fifty cents. 

landed at Fort des Moines only for a few min- 
utes, and had but just time to remark the pale and 
sickly countenances of such soldiers as were loiter- 
ing about the beach; indeed, I was told by a young 
man who was sutler at this post, that when he had 
left it a few weeks before, there was only one officer 
on duty out of seven or eight, who were stationed 
there. The number of desertions from this post was 
said to be greater than from any other in the United 
States. The reason is probably this: the dragoons 
who are posted there and at Fort Leavenworth, were 
formed out of a corps, called during the last Indian 
war * The Eangers ; ' they have been recruited chiefly 
in the Eastern States, where young men of some 
property and enterprise were induced to join, by the 
flattering picture drawn of the service, and by the 
advantageous opportunity promised of seeing the 
*Far West.^ They were taught to expect an easy 
life in a country abounding with game, and that the 
only hardships to which they would be exposed, 



152 



THE PALIMPSEST 



would be in the exciting novelty of a yearly tour or 
circuit made during the spring and summer, among 
the wild tribes on the Missouri, Arkansas, Platte, 
&c. ; but on arriving at their respective stations, they, 
found a very different state of things: they were 
obliged to build their own barracks, store-rooms, 
stables, &c. ; to haul and cut wood, and to perform 
a hundred other menial or mechanical offices, so 
repugnant to the prejudices of an American. If we 
take into consideration the facilities of escape in a 
steamboat, by which a deserter may place himself in 
a few days in the recesses of Canada, Texas, or the 
mines, and at the same time bear in mind the feeble- 
ness with which the American military laws and cus- 
toms follow or punish deserters, we shall only 
wonder that the ranks can be kept as full as they 
are.'' 

Murray made little comment on Fort Armstrong 
but the lead mines of Galena and Dubuque interested 
him greatly. Since Beltrami's trip the whites had 
crossed to the west bank of the river and had begun 
a vigorous young mining settlement at Dubuque. 

^^I reached Dubuques without accident, and pro- 
ceeded to the only tavern of which it can boast.^ The 
landlord, whom I had met in the steamer, on ascend- 
ing the Mississippi, promised me a bed to myself ; a 
luxury that is by no means easily obtained by travel- 
lers in the West. The bar-room, which was indeed 

6 Murray's Travels in North America, Vol. II, pp. 151-157. 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 



153 



the only public sitting-room, was crowded with a 
parcel of blackguard noisy miners, from whom the 
most experienced and notorious blasphemers in 
Portsmouth or Wapping might have taken a lesson ; 
and I felt more than ever annoyed by that absurd 
custom, so prevalent in America, of forcing travel- 
lers of quiet and respectable habits into the society 
of ruffians, by giving them no alternative but sitting 
in the bar-room or walking the street. 

*^It may be said that I am illiberal in censuring 
the customs of a country, by reference to those of a 
small infant village; but the custom to which I al- 
lude, is not confined to villages ; it is common to most 
towns in the West, and is partially applicable to the 
hotels in the eastern cities. They may have dining- 
rooms of enormous extent, tables groaning under 
hundreds of dishes; but of comfort, quiet, and pri- 
vacy, they know but little. It is doubtless true, that 
the bar of a small village tavern in England may be 
crowded with guests little, if at all, more refined or 
orderly than those Dubuques miners, but I never 
found a tavern in England so small or mean, that I 
could not have the comfort of a little room to myself, 
where I might read, write, or follow my own pur- 
suits without annoyance. 

sat by the fireside watching the strange and 
rough-looking characters who successively entered 
to drink a glass of the nauseous dilution of alcohol, 
variously coloured, according as they asked for 
brandy, whisky, or rum, when a voice from the door 



154 



THE PALIMPSEST 



inquiring of the landlord, whether accommodations 
for the night were to be had, struck my ear as fa- 
miliar to me. I rose to look at the speaker, and our 
astonishment was mutual, when I recognized Dr. M. 
of the United States army, who is a relative of its 
commander-in-chief. He is a very pleasant gentle- 
manly man, from the state of New York, whose 
acquaintance I had made in my trip to Fort Leaven- 
worth, to which place he was now on his return. 
After an exchange of the first expressions of pleas- 
ure and surprise, I assisted him in getting up his 
baggage from the canoe in which he had come down 
the river, and in despatching a supper that was set 
before him. We then returned to the bar ; and after 
talking over some of our adventures since we parted, 
requested to be shown to our dormitory. This was 
a large room, occupying the whole of the first floor, 
and containing about eight or nine beds ; the doctor 
selected one in the centre of the wall opposite the 
door; I chose one next to him, and the nearest to me 
was given to an officer who accompanied the doctor. 
The other beds contained two or three persons, ac- 
cording to the number of guests requiring accommo- 
dation. 

**The doctor, his friend, and I, resolutely refused 
to admit any partner into our beds; and, notwith- 
standing the noise and oaths still prevalent in the 
bar, we fell asleep. I was awakened by voices close 
to my bed-side, and turned round to listen to the 
following dialogue: — 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 155 



I Doctor (to a drunken fellow who was taking off 
I his coat and waistcoat close to the doctor's bed). — 
* Halloo! where the devil are you coming to?' 
Brunhard. — *To bed, to be sure!' 
Doctor.— 'Where?' 
Drunkard. — 'Why, with you.' 

Doctor (raising his voice angrily). — 'I'll be d d 

if you come into this bed!' 

Drunkard (walking off with an air of dignity). — 

'Well, you need not be so d d particular; — I'm as 

particular as you, I assure you ! ' 

"Three other tipsy fellows staggered into the 
^ room, soon after midnight, and slept somewhere: 
w they went off again before daylight without paying 
for their lodging, and the landlord did not even know 
. that they had entered his house. 
i. "It certainly appears at first sight to be a strange 
' anomaly in human nature, that at Dubuques, Galena, 
: - and other rising towns on the Mississippi, containing 
r in proportion to their size as profligate, turbulent, 
^ and abandoned a population as any in the world, 
theft is almost unknown; and though dirks are fre- 
• quently drawn, and pistols fired in savage and 
drunken brawls, by ruffians who regard neither the 
r laws of God nor man, I do not believe that an in- 
stance of larceny or housebreaking has occurred. 
So easily are money and food here obtained b}^ 
labour, that it seems scarcely worth a man's while 
to steal. Thus, the solution of the apparent anom- 
aly is to be found in this, that theft is a naughty 



156 



THE PALIMPSEST 



cliild, of wliicli idleness is the father and want the 
mother. 

^'I spent the following day in examining the mines 
near Dubnques, which are not generally so rich in 
lead as those hitherto found on the opposite shore, 
towards Galena. However, the whole country in the 
neighbourhood contains mineral, and I have no 
doubt that diggings at a little distance from the 
town will be productive of great profits ; at all events, 
it will be, in my opinion, a greater and more popu- 
lous town than Galena ever will become. 

** The next day being Sunday, I attended religious 
service, which was performed in a small low room, 
scarcely capable of containing a hundred persons. 
The minister was a pale, ascetic, sallow-looking man, 
and delivered a lecture dull and sombre as his coun- 
tenance. However, it was pleasant to see even this 
small assemblage, who thought of divine worship in 
such a place as Dubuques. In the evening, there 
was more drunkenness and noise than usual about 
the bar, and one young man was pointed out to me as 
*the bully' par excellence. He was a tall stout fellow, 
on whose countenance the evil passions had already 
set their indelible seal. He was said to be a great 
boxer, and had stabbed two or three men with his 
dirk during the last ten days. He had two com- 
panions with him, who acted, I suppose, as myr- 
midons in his brawls. When he first entered, I was 
sitting in the bar reading ; he desired me, in a harsh 
imperative tone, to move out of the way, as he 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 157 



wanted to get sometMng to drink. There was plenty 
of room for Mm to go round my chair, without dis- 
turbing me ; so I told him to go round if he wished 
a dram. He looked somewhat surprised, but he went 
round, and I resumed my book. Then it was that 
the landlord whispered to me the particulars re- 
specting him as given above. I confess, I almost 
wished that he would insult me, that I might try to 
break his head with my good cudgel which was at 
hand ; so incensed and disgusted was I at finding my- 
self in the company of such a villain. However, he 
soon after left the room, and gave me no chance 
either of cracking his crown, or, what is much more 
probable, of getting five or six inches of his dirk 
into my body. 

^^I could not resist laughing at the absurdity of 
one of his companions, who was very drunk, and 
finding that his head was burning from the quantity 
of whisky that he had swallowed, an idea came into 
it that would never have entered the brain of any 
man except an Irishman, or a Kentuckian: he fan- 
cied that his hat was hot, and occasioned the sensa- 
tion above mentioned ; accordingly, he would not be 
satisfied till the landlord put it into a tub of cold 
water, and filled it; he then desired it might be 
soaked there till morning, and left the house con- 
tented and bare-headed. 

was obliged to remain here yet another day, 
as no steamboat appeared. At length the Warrior 
touched, and took us off to Galena. We stopped a 



I 



158 



THE PALIMPSEST 



short time at a large smelting establishment a mile 
or two below the town: on a high bluff which over- 
looks it is the tomb of Dubuques, a Spanish miner 
from whom the place derives its name. The spot is 
marked by a cross, and I clambered up to see it. 
With a disregard of sepulchral sanctity, which I 
have before noticed as being too prevalent in Amer- 
ica, I found that it had been broken down in one or 
two places; I picked up the skull and some other 
bones. The grave had been built of brick, and had 
on one side a stone slab, bearing a simple Latin in- 
scription, announcing that the tenant had come from 
the Spanish mines, and giving the usual data re- 
specting his age, birth, death, &c. The view from 
this bold high bluff is very fine, but unfortunately 
the day on which I visited it was cloudy." 

FEEDEIKA BEEMER — 1850 

The Swedish novelist, Fredrika Bremer, made a 
trip to America in 1849 and spent nearly two years 
in this country. Her impressions, embodied in let- 
ters written at the time, were published in Sweden 
and also in an English translation in New York 
under the title The Homes of the New World. In 
the fall of .1850 she took a steamer from Buffalo to 
Detroit, and reached Chicago by rail. From here 
she went by steamer to Milwaukee and then trav- 
elled by stage across Wisconsin and south to Galena, 
Illinois. In a letter written from this town she gave 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 



159 



the following hearsay account of the inhabitants of 
the land on the other side of the Mississippi:^ 

^^I heard an interesting account from a married 
couple whom I received in my room, and who are 
just now come from the wilderness beyond the Mis- 
sissippi, of the so-called Squatters, a kind of w^hite 
people who constitute a portion of the first colonists 
of the Western country. They settle themselves 
down here and there in the wilderness, cultivate the 
earth, and cultivate freedom, but will not become 
acquainted with any other kind of cultivation. They 
pay no taxes, and will not acknowledge either law or 
church. They live in families, have no social life, 
but are extremely peaceable, and no way guilty of 
any violation of law. All that they desire is to be at 
peace, and to have free elbow-room. They live very 
amicably with the Indians, not so well with the 
American whites. When these latter come with their 
schools, their churches, and their shops, then the 
Squatters withdraw themselves further and still 
further into the wilderness, in order to be able, as 
they say, to live in innocence and freedom. The 
whole of the Western country beyond the Mississippi 
and as far as the Pacific Ocean, is said to be inhab- 
ited by patches with these Squatters, or tillers of the 
land, the origin of whom is said to be as much un- 
known as that of the Clay-eaters of South Carolina 
and Georgia. Their way of life has also a resem- 
blance. The Squatters, however, evince more power 

6 Bremer's The Homes of the New World, Vol. I, pp. 650-651. 



1G0 



TTTR PALIMPSEST 



and impulse of labor; the Clay-eaters subject tbe life 
of nature. The Squatters are the representatives of 
the wilderness, and stand as such in stiff opposition 
to cultivation.'' 

Later, however, when Miss Bremer had crossed 
the river and travelled in the land of the squat- 
ters", she wrote her own impressions:''' 

^^The journey across the Iowa prairie in a half- 
covered wagon was very pleasant. The weather was 
as warm as a summer's day, and the sun shone above 
a fertile, billoAvy plain, which extended far, far into 
the distance. Three fourths of the land of Iowa are 
said to be of this billowy prairie-land. The country 
did not appear to be cultivated, but looked extremely 
beautiful and home-like, an immense pasture-mead- 
ow. The scenery of the Mississippi is of a bright, 
cheerful character. 

'^In the afternoon we reached the little town of 
Keokuk, on a high bank by the river. We ate a good 
dinner at a good inn; tea was served for soup, which 
is a general practice at dinners in the Western inns. 
It was not till late in the evening that the vessel came 
by which we were to continue our journey, and in 
the mean time I set off alone on a journey of dis- 
covery. I left behind me the young city of the Mis- 
sissippi, which has a good situation, and followed a 
path which led up the hill along the river side. The 
sun was descending, and clouds of a pale crimson 

7 Bremer's The Homes of the New World, Vol. II, pp. 81-83. 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 161 



tint covered the western heavens. The air was mild 
and calm, the whole scene expansive, bright, and 
calm, an idyllian landscape on a large scale. 

* ^ Small houses, at short distances from each other, 
studded this hill by the river side ; they were neatly 
built of wood, of good proportions, and with that 
appropriateness and cleverness which distinguishes 
the work of the Americans. They were each one like 
the other, and seemed to be the habitations of work- 
people. Most of the doors stood open, probably to 
admit the mild evening air. I availed myself of this 
circumstance to gain a sight of the interior, and fell 
into discourse with two of the good women of the 
houses. They were, as I had imagined, the dwellings 
of artisans who had work in the town. There v/as no 
luxury in these small habitations, but every thing 
was so neat and orderly, so ornamental, and there 
was such a holiday calm over every thing, from the 
mistress of the family down to the very furniture, 
that it did one good to see it. It was also Sunday 
evening, and the peace of the Sabbath rested within 
the home as well as over the country. 

**When I returned to my herberg in the town it 
was quite dusk ; but it had, in the mean time, been 
noised abroad that some sort of Scandinavian ani- 
mal was to be seen at the inn, and it was now re- 
quested to come and show itself. 

went down, accordingly, into the large saloon, 
and found a great number of people there, prin- 
cipally of the male sex, who increased more and more 



162 



THE PALIMPSEST 



until there was a regular throng, and I had to shake 
hands with many most extraordinary figures. But 
one often sees such here in the West. The men 
work hard, and are careless regarding their toilet; 
they do not give themselves time to attend to it ; but 
their unkemmed outsides are no type of that which 
is within, as I frequently observed this evening. I 
also made a somewhat closer acquaintance, to my 
real pleasure, with a little company of more refined 
people; I say refined intentionally, not better ^ be- 
cause those phrases, better and worse, are always 
indefinite, and less suitable in this country than in 
any other; I mean well-bred and well-dressed ladies 
and gentlemen, the aristocracy of Keokuk. Not be- 
ing myself of a reserved disposition, I like the Amer- 
ican open, frank, and friendly manner. It is easy to 
become acquainted, and it is very soon evident 
whether there is reciprocity of feeling or not.'' 

EOBEET LOUIS STEVENSON — 1879 

It was nearly thirty years later that Robert Louis 
Stevenson visited Iowa. In 1879 he crossed the 
ocean in an emigrant ship, and started across the 
continent toward San Francisco in an emigrant 
train, loaded down with a valise, a knapsack, and — 
in the bag of his railway rug — six fat volumes of 
Bancroft's History of the United States. He left 
the following record of a day of travel between Bur- 
lington and Council Bluffs.^ 

8 Stevenson's Across the Plains (Scribner Edition, 1912), pp. 
24-28. 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 163 



^'Thursday. — I suppose there must be a cycle in 
the fatigue of travelling", for when I awoke next 
morning, I was entirely renewed in spirits and ate a 
hearty breakfast of porridge, with sweet milk, and 
coffee and hot cakes, at Burlington upon the Missis- 
sippi. Another long day's ride followed, with but 
one feature worthy of remark. At a place called 
Creston, a drunken man got in. He was aggressively 
friendly, but, according to English notions, not at 
all unpresentable upon a train. For one stage he 
eluded the notice of the officials ; but just as we were 
beginning to move out of the next station, Cromwell 
by name, by came the conductor. There was a word 
or two of talk; and then the official had the man by 
the shoulders, twitched him from his seat, marched 
him through the car, and sent him flying on to the 
track. It was done in three motions, as exact as a 
piece of drill. The train was still moving slowly, 
although beginning to mend her pace, and the 
drunkard got his feet without a fall. He carried a 
red bundle, though not so red as his cheeks ; and he 
shook this menacingly in the air with one hand, while 
the other stole behind him to the region of the kid- 
neys. It was the first indication that I had come 
among revolvers, and I observed it with some emo- 
tion. The conductor stood on the steps with one 
hand on his hip, looking back at him ; and perhaps 
this attitude imposed upon the creature, for he 
turned without further ado, and v/ent off staggering 
along the track towards Cromwell, followed by a 
peal of laughter from the cars. They were speaking 



164 



THE PALIMPSEST 



English all about me, but I knew I was in a foreign 
land. 

^ ^ Twenty minutes before nine that night, we were 
deposited at the Pacific Transfer Station near Coun- 
cil Bluffs, on the eastern bank of the Missouri River. 
Here we were to stay the night at a kind of caravan- 
serai, set apart for emigrants. But I gave way to a 
thirst for luxury, separated myself from my com- 
panions, and marched with my effects into the Union 
Pacific Hotel. A white clerk and a coloured gentle- 
man whom, in my plain European way, I should call 
the boots, were installed behind a counter like bank 
tellers. They took my name, assigned me a number, 
and proceeded to deal with my packages. And here 
came the tug of war. I wished to give up my pack- 
ages into safe keeping; but I did not wish to go to 
bed. And this, it appeared, was impossible in an 
American hotel. 

*^It was, of course, some inane misunderstanding, 
and sprang from my unfamiliarity with the lan- 
guage. For although two nations use the same 
words and read the same books, intercourse is not 
conducted by the dictionary. The business of life is 
not carried on by words, but in set phrases, each 
with a special and almost a slang signification. Some 
international obscurity prevailed between me and the 
coloured gentleman at Council Bluffs ; so that what I 
was asking, which seemed very natural to me, ap- 
peared to him a monstrous exigency. He refused, 
and that with the plainness of the West. This Amer- 
ican manner of conducting matters of business is, at 



THROUGH EUROPEAN EYES 



165 



first, highly unpalatable to the European. When we 
approach a man in the way of his calling, and for 
those services by which he earns his bread, we con- 
sider him for the time being our hired servant. But 
in the American opinion, two gentlemen meet and 
have a friendly talk with a view to exchanging 
favours if they shall agree to please. I know not 
which is the more convenient, nor even which is the 
more truly courteous. The English stiffness unfor- 
tunately tends to be continued after the particular 
transaction is at an end, and thus favours class sep- 
arations. But on the other hand, these equalitarian 
plainnesses leave an open field for the insolence of 
Jack-in-office. 

was nettled by the coloured gentleman's re- 
fusal, and unbuttoned my wrath under the similitude 
of ironical submission. I knew nothing, I said, of 
the ways of American hotels ; but I had no desire to 
give trouble. If there was nothing for it but to get 
to bed immediately, let him say the word, and though 
it was not my habit, I should cheerfully obey. 

^^He burst into a shout of laughter. ^AhV said 
he, *you do not know about America. They are fine 
people in America. Oh ! you will like them very well. 
But you mustn't get mad. I know what you want. 
You come along with me. ' 

**And issuing from behind the counter, and taking 
me by the arm like an old acquaintance, he led me to 
the bar of the hotel. 

^ There,' said he, pushing me from him by the 
shoulder, 'go and have a drink!' " 



Comment by the Editor 

THE MEANING OF IOWA 

Why should Iowa mean anything to us? It is not 
the greatest State in the Union in size, in numbers, 
or in wealth. It has no large city — no mecca for the 
pilgrimages of mankind. Its shores are not washed 
by the sea as are those of California and Florida. 
Its hills do not rise into the blue like the mountains 
of Colorado. It does not look out toward the island 
empire of either Great Britain or Japan. Its people 
can not talk across the fence to the Canadians or feel 
the stir of excitement along the prickly border of 
Mexico. 

But it is the heart of America. Its shores are the 
two greatest rivers of the continent. Its rolling hills 
and fertile plains smile in the sun — well content 
with the task of making manna for millions. It has 
woods and winding streams and blue lakes, and 
towns with shady streets and green lawns and alert 
and friendly people. 

And it has traditions. We are young in the land, 
but the land is old. Its story runs back of the days 
when glaciers slipped down across it; back to the 
times when the sea covered the Mississippi Basin. 
Into the long story come the red men, and after 
many generations the whites. The songs of French 
boatmen echo upon its streams ; Spanish fur traders 
trail its western shore. Julien Dubuque and Manuel 
Lisa move through the misty past. Builders of 

166 



COMMENT BY THE EDITOR 167 



homes arrive and out of the border land a State 
comes into the Union. Congressmen, soldiers, and 
farmers, lawyers, business men, and wide-visioned 
women play their parts; and so our heritage has 
grown. 

And yet, probably it is the associations of a more 
immediate past, the memory of more intimate and 
homely things that makes up for us the thought of 
Iowa. It is where we live — perhaps where we have 
always lived. Its people are our people, and Iowa is 
our State. We frame its laws and try to obey them. 
It is we who build its institutions and make its his- 
tory and look forward to the enjoyment of its future. 
The familiar scenes of the land between the rivers 
have woven themselves into our lives. And so Iowa 
means a thousand things to us — the rush of water 
in the gutters in the spring time, and the smell of 
burning leaves in the fall; the tang of early frost 
and the sight of oaks still clinging to their rusty 
foliage on the hill tops; the sound of birds in the 
early summer morning, and the stillness graven on 
the marble of a winter night. It means black mud in 
the bottom road and red sumac along the fence; 
small towns and large corn fields; Wallace^s Farmer 
and Ding's cartoons; the clack of the mower and the 
memory of boys going off to war. 

Iowa has its faults; but so, perhaps, have our 
parents, our wives, and our children — to say noth- 
ing of ourselves. And after all, we can not explain 
the charm of the things we love. Let us then not so 



168 



THE PALIMPSEST 



much boast of Iowa as be happy in it. Let us look 
with seeing eyes npon its beauties, and with friendly 
eyes upon its people — our neighbors. Let us know 
its story and make sure that we ourselves play in it 
a w^orthy part ; for what we make it mean to us, that 
will it mean to those who come hereafter. 

J. C. P. 




\$fu.ti|M S. ^q0p^ 



v=> Comment 

Published Monthly At lowACmr By 

The State Himicae SgciETYoFiowA 



i 




APPLICATION FOR ENTRY AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POST OFFICE AT IOWA CITY IOWA PENOINC 



THE PURPOSE OF THIS MAGAZINE 

The Palimpsest, issued monthly by The State His- 
torical Society of Iowa, is devoted to the dissemiiia- 
tion of Iowa History. Supplementing the other pub- 
lications of this Society, it aims to present the materials 
of Iowa History in a form that is attractive and a style 
that is popular in the best sense — to the end that the 
story of our Commonwealth may be more widely read 
and cherished. 

BENJ. F. Shambaugh 

Superintendent 



THE MEANING OF PALIMPSESTS 

In early times palimpsests were parchments or other 
materials from which one or more writings had been 
erased to give room for later records. But the eras- 
ures wer6 not always complete; and so it became the 
fascinating task of scholars not only to translate the 
later records but also to reconstruct the original writ- 
ings by deciphering the dim fragments of letters partly 
erased and partly covered by subsequent texts. 

The history of Iowa may be likened to a palimpsest 
which holds the records of successive generations. To 
decipher these records of the past, reconstruct them, 
and tell the stories which they contain is the task of 
those who write history. 



PRICE — 10c per copy : $1 per year: free to members of Society 
ADDRESS — The State Historical Society Iowa City Iowa 



The Palimpsest 

EDITED BY JOHN C. PARISH 

Associate Editor of The State Historical Society of Iowa 

Vol. I Issued in December 1920 No. 6 

COPYRIGHT 1920 BY THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF IOWA 

Crossing the Mississippi 

In the early movement of settlers to Iowa, the 
Mississippi River played a double role. To the 
emigrants from Virginia, Kentucky, and other 
States bordering on the Ohio and Mississippi, it 
served as an invaluable highway. To those who 
came overland from Chicago, Milwaukee, or any 
point in Illinois, on the other hand, it loomed up as 
an almost impassable barrier. Either as an aid or a 
hindrance to travel, it was a factor all early emi- 
grants had to reckon with. 

The difficulties to be encountered by travel in a 
' white-topped emigrant wagon in those early days 
can hardly be over-emphasized. There were few 
roads and no bridges. Broken traces and mired 
wheels were the common happenings of a day's 
journey. Elvers proved to be an unfailing source of 
trouble. The small streams were crossed by ford- 
ing; the larger ones by swimming the teams, wagona 
and all. But when the Father of Waters was: 
reached, these methods were out of the question: 

169 



170 



THE PALIMPSEST 



here apparently was an insurmountable obstacle. 
However, these eager home seekers were not willing 
to be deprived of the hard earned fruits of their 
trying journey — now lying within sight — by a 
mere river. And out of this situation came the 
ferry. 

The earliest type of ferry to operate on the Mis- 
sissippi River was the canoe. It served the Indians 
as a means of crossing long before the whites pene- 
trated as far west as the Mississippi. When the 
white explorers finally reached the valley region, 
they also adopted the customary mode of crossing 
long followed by their red predecessors. At a still 
later period, the canoe answered the more frequent 
and pressing demands of the hunters and trappers 
on their way to and from the country then regarded 
as the far west. It even survived till the day when 
occasional homeseekers in their emigrant wagons 
found their way into that pioneer region. 

Only the ordinary difficulties and risks of canoeing 
attended the crossing of the river by the Indians, 
white explorers, and trappers; but with the emi- 
grants it was different. For as a pioneer account 
relates, wagons had to be unloaded and taken to 
pieces, and both they and their loads shipped in 
small cargoes at a voyage, till all were over; then 
the teams had to be unharnessed or unyoked and 
made to swim, the horses being led by the halter at 
the side of the canoe, and the oxen by the horns. 
A still more hazardous undertaking was the crossing 



CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI 171 



in winter, and in the springtime when huge cakes of 
ice raced along on the swift current, ready to smash 
into splinters any luckless craft that might get in the 
way. But this was not always taken into account by 
travellers eager to reach their destination, and 
sometimes, in the face of imminent peril-, they in- 
sisted on being ferried over. 

An example of this is afforded by the story of a 
New Englander — a young college graduate wholly 
unfamiliar with the stern conditions of pioneer life. 
He arrived at a point on the Illinois shore opposite 
Burlington, in December, 1840. Being very anxious 
to get across the river that evening, he tried to 
engage the services of the ferryman, who, however, 
flatly refused to venture on the river in the dark, 
giving as his reason that the floating ice made it far 
too perilsome. Nothing daunted by the ferryman's 
dark and foreboding picture, the easterner still de- 
manded to be taken over, but it proved futile. So 
instead of the hoped for conveniences of a Burling- 
ton hotel, he was forced to accept the more scant 
offerings of a one-roomed cabin, and submit to the 
discomfort of sleeping in the same room with thirty 
others — men, women, and children. But the next 
day when the canoe landed him safely on the 
Burlington side of the river after an hour's trying 
struggle among the floating cakes of ice, he probably 
felt less bitter toward the stubborn ferryman. 

While the canoe met very satisfactorily the needs 
of the early explorers, stray travellers, and occa- 



172 



THE PALIMPSEST 



sional liomeseekers, it proved wholly inadequate for 
the stream of emigrants which followed the opening 
of the Black Hawk Purchase. Imagine the situation 
when a group of twelve or more emigrant wagons 
lined up on the Illinois shore to be ferried over — 
the confusion, the frenzied haste to get the wagons 
unloaded and taken to pieces, the long disheartening 
wait while the total tonnage of the wagons was being 
taken over, bit by bit, when the hours dragged and 
even the best natured grew surly. Hence, to meet 
this situation brought about by the onrush of set- 
tlers to the Iowa country, regular public ferries 
equipped to carry whole wagonloads at a time came 
into use. 

The regular public ferries passed through several 
well defined stages of evolution, easily distinguished 
by the type of motive power. Flat-boats and skiffs 
marked the initial stage. The craft generally spoken 
of as flat-boats" were huge barge-like affairs, so 
constructed as to hold wagon, team, and other 
equipment. They were steered by huge sweeps, 
often as long as the boats themselves. By some 
these boats were designated as *^mud scows The 
distinguishing characteristic of this type was that 
man supplied the motive power. Propelled in some 
cases by oars, in others by poles, in still others by 
huge sweeps, it was nevertheless human strength 
that furnished the moving force. 

Although a marked improvement over the canoe, 
the flat-boat did not do away with the trials of 



CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI 173 



ferrying. A large element of risk still remained: 
the craft was always at the mercy of the current and 
was carried well down stream. After dark the haz- 
ards of crossing multiplied and ferrymen charged 
accordingly. And in many cases it still took an hour 
or more to cross the river. 

While it is very likely that the first flat-boat ferry 
to operate on the Mississippi within the borders of 
Iowa was one established at Keokuk to serve the 
early settlers in the Half Breed Tract, there appears 
to be no recorded evidence to show it. So far as can 
be gathered from available records, Clark's Ferry 
at Buffalo marks the opening of flat-boat ferrying in 
Iowa. The ferry was established by Captain Benja- 
min W. Clark in 1833 while he was still living at 
Andalusia, Illinois. For a number of years it held 
the distinction of being the most noted ferry between 
Burlington and Dubuque. Indeed, one writer went 
so far as to state that it was *Hhe most convenient 
place to cross the Mississippi .... anywhere 
between Balize and Prairie du Chien.'' And prob- 
ably a major portion of the traffic passing from the 
direction of the Illinois Eiver to the mining region 
west of the Mississippi, or toward the interior, 
crossed the river at this point. 

However, this reputation was short lived, and 
later developments lead one to believe that it was 
based more on the conspicuous absence of other fer- 
ries than on any intrinsic qualities. In 1836, Antoine 
Le Claire established a ferry at Davenport — a few 



174 



THE PALIMPSEST 



miles below Buffalo — and he gradually drew away 
most of the travel that had heretofore passed over 
Clark's Ferry. 

As the stream of emigrants heading for the Iowa 
country increased in volume, the process of carrying 
it over the Mississippi in man-propelled craft soon 
became inadequate. Probably some ingenious indi- 
vidual saw the absurdity in having humans sweat 
and toil away at the poles and oars while veritable 
reservoirs of power rested on the ferry boat, and 
struck upon the happy idea of making the horses 
furnish the power. At any rate, a transition did 
take place wherein the crude flat-boat gave way to 
the horse ferry, an affair moved by horse power 
rather than by man power. However, the transition 
was not a complete one ; in many cases this stage was 
not present, the flat-boat being directly followed by 
the steam ferry. 

In a newspaper published in Bloomington (Mus- 
catine) in 1841 the following notice appears : 

**A new boat, propelled by horse power, has lately 
been placed upon the river at this place, for the 
accommodation of the ferry; and, though hastily 
made, all of green oak, and clumsy in its exterior, it 
swims like a swan and will cross in eight minutes 
with ease and safety. We may flatter ourselves that 
a ferry is now permanently established. ' ' 

The third, and by far the most vital step, was the 
introduction of steam as a motive power. And while 
very little record is to be had of the actual results of 



CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI 175 



the change from human to horse strength, evidence 
as to the effects of the transition to steam is abun- 
dant. Whole streams of immigration were diverted 
from their customary avenues of travel to seek the 
conveniences offered by steam ferries. Nor is this 
to be wondered at. Eegular trips were now made 
every hour, in some cases every fifteen minutes. 
Moreover, in sharp contrast to the time it took to 
cross in a flat-boat — sometimes several hours — the 
crossing could now be made in five minutes. This 
spurt in speed of crossing was closely paralleled by 
a tremendous leap in carrying capacity. For as a 
matter of fact, the crude flat-boat capable of carry- 
ing a single wagon had now grown to a gigantic 
affair which could carry eighteen or more teams at 
once, and even whole trains. As in other industries, 
the introduction of steam marked a new era in the 
ferry business. 

The extent to which steam power revolutionized 
ferrying is also revealed in the following comment 
from a Dubuque newspaper: ^'Bogy's splendid new 
steam ferryboat is doing the most rushing business 
of the season. She is puffing and blowing all the 
time. She is a perfect Godsend to California emi- 
grants. If the number of wagons that she brings 
across in a day had to abide the tardiness of the old- 
fashioned horse boat, they would not reach this side 
in a week.'* 

Probably the first steam ferry to operate on the 
Mississippi within the borders of Iowa was estab- 



176 



THE PALIMPSJIST 



lished by Captain John Wilson in 1852. It is said 
that he launched the steam ferry as early as 1843, 
but it was found to be too far in advance of the times 
and so was taken off the river until 1852. This 
ferry plied across the river at Davenport. 

John Wilson was unusually energetic, enterpris- 
ing, and capable, as a ferryman. In 1837 he pur- 
chased Antoine Le Claire's ferry business, and 
immediately began building new flat-boats. By 1841 
he had a horse ferry boat in operation and his steam 
ferry was launched in 1843. Moreover, he made an 
arrangement with the Rock Eiver ferry located at 
the mouth of the Green River, whereby one fare paid 
the way over both ferries. 

A more novel contribution to ferrying at Daven- 
port accredited to the enterprising Wilson was the 
ferry alarm. The conditions leading to the adoption 
of the alarm have been ably told by a contemporary 
writer as follows: *^In primitive times in order to 
arouse the ferryman on the opposite shore the 
Stephensonites (now Rock Islanders) who had been 
over here in Davenport to attend evening services 
and overstayed their time, or zealous Davenporters 
who after dark had occasion to visit Stephenson in 
a missionary cause, had to raise the * war-whoop'. 
In order to discourage relics of barbarism Mr. 
Wilson introduced the ferry triangle, an ungainly 
piece of triangular steel which, when vigorously 
pounded with a club, sent forth from its gallows tree 
a most w^retched clanging noise. But it brought the 
skitf though it awakened the whole town. ' ' 



CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI 177 



No account of ferries in Iowa would be complete 
without some mention at least of tolls, and cost of 
franchises. As a matter of fact, these are but spe- 
cial phases of the general subject, and they illumi- 
nate it materially. In the early days when the Mis- 
sissippi was crossed in ferries, money was not so 
plentiful as it is to-day. Hence, ferry fees were 
often paid mth goods. The circumstances under 
which Clark collected his first ferriage afford an in- 
stance, and they also show something of the man's 
temper. A company of French traders on their way 
from the Iowa River to the Trading Post on Rock 
Island encamped one evening at Buffalo. The in- 
formation that Clark intended to establish a ferry 
across the river at this point, they received as a 
huge joke, ridiculing the whole enterprise. Never- 
theless, they called loudly for the ferry-boat to carry 
their drove of cattle across, little dreaming that it 
would appear. Nor is it very likely that they real- 
ized the type of man they were dealing with. 

Captain Clark, his flat-boat completed and ready 
for service, gathered enough men and boys to oper- 
ate the boat, and in no pleasant frame of mind set 
out into the dark to offer his services to the noisy 
Frenchmen. When the traders noticed the flat-boat 
approaching, however, they burst into uproarious 
laughter, aiming to turn the whole matter off as a 
joke; and they told the Captain they had nothing to 
ferry and that he might return. But he was not so 
easily disposed of, for his temper was now thor- 



I 



178 



THE PALIMPSEST 



ouglily aroused. Ho landed his boat, marclied into 
the camp of the Frenchmen with his small crew, and 
angrily demanded ten dollars as his ferriage fee. 
The whole affair speedily lost its comical aspects, 
and the traders saw that the infuriated Captain 
would brook no further trifling. But to their great 
embarrassment, they had not ten dollars in money 
among them. So they offered him two bolts of calico 
which he accepted. 

Another incident arising out of the scarcity of 
money is related of Antoine Le Claire who estab- 
lished his ferry at Davenport in 1836. As his fee for 
ferrying a number of sheep over the river, he ac- 
cepted their fleeces, the owner having had them 
sheared prior to the crossing. This wool he kept for 
a while, but failing to find any particular use for it, 
he finally burned it to get rid of it. 

But it must not be understood that it was the 
daily occurrence for a party to pay its way over the 
river in calico or in raw wool. These were the un- 
usual and striking incidents. Ordinarily, of course, 
fares were paid in money. The County Commis- 
sioner's Court at Eockingham in May, 1838, fixed 
the following ferriage rates for the Mississippi 
Eiver : 

Footmen $ .183^ 

Man and horse .50 
One vehicle and driver .75 
Two horses, vehicle and driver 1.00 
Each additional horse or mule .18% 



CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI 179 



Meat cattle, per head 
Sheep or hogs 
Freight per hundred 



.121/2 

.05 

.O61/4 



From sunset to sunrise, double rates were allowed. 

The puzzling feature of this table stands out in 
the apparent difficulty of making change in % cents 
and 1/4 cents. And for both explanation and solu- 
tion one must go back to a day when money was 
nearly non-existent. Says a writer of that early 
day, During all this time there was no money of 
any description. Talk about scarcity now a days! 
Then the only change aside from barter consisted of 
bits and picayunes — the former a piece of the 
eighth part of a Spanish milled dollar, cut with a 
chisel into eight equal parts when the operation was 
fairly and honestly done, but the skilful and design- 
ing often made nine bits and even ten out of one 
dollar piece. The picayune in like manner was a 
Spanish quarter cut into four equal parts, hence 
the origin of these two terms bits and picayunes.'' 

The table then, was based on the actual circulation 
of the crude bits of chiseled coin which survived a 
day when money was very scarce. Not infrequently, 
however, one party or the other had to surrender 
the half or fourth cent in making change. 

While the ferries of early days rendered prac- 
tically the same public service that the bridges of 
to-day do, they were, for the most part, established 
for private profit. And when one considers the 
striking similarity between crossing the Mississippi 



180 



THE PALIMPSEST 



in a ferry-boat and crossing it over a bridge, it seems 
odd that a toll should have to be paid in the one case 
and not in the other. Nevertheless, free ferries were 
as conspicuously absent then as free bridges are 
prevalent to-day. 

On the other hand, the idea of a free public ferry 
was not altogether unheard of. By legislative act 
the commissioners of Louisa County were author- 
ized to establish and keep a ferry across the Iowa 
Eiver which was to render its services free to all the 
citizens of the county. And at the extra session of 
the First General Assembly the Mayor and Alder- 
men of Ft. Madison were authorized to provide for 
*^the free carriage across the Mississippi river for 
one year, of all persons with their property coming 
to Ft. Madison for the purpose of trading with its 
inhabitants, and bringing marketing and produce to 
the place ' ^ Moreover, there was considerable agita- 
tion for the free ferry in a number of the larger 
towns. 

License fees kept pace with the rapid development 
of the ferries in general — the increase in carrying 
capacity, the substitution of steam in the place of 
horse or man power, and the increase in volume of 
business. Beginning with the humble figure of $2.00 
per year or less, the cost of franchises leaped, in the 
course of time, to the striking figure of $1000 an- 
nually. Before the formal granting of ferry fran- 
chises through legislative action, licenses were not 
required. There appears to be no written evidence 



CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI 181 



that either Captain Clark or Antoine Le Claire or 
Captain John Wilson paid license fees. But with 
the establishing of ferries through legal processes, 
charges were made for the right to carry on the 
business. 

The County Commissioner's Court which met at 
Eockingham in May, 1838, fixed the following sched- 
ules for licenses on the Mississippi: Davenport, 
$20.00; Buffalo, $10.00; Eockingham, $8.00; and all 
others $5.00. How long these schedules remained in 
force we are not told; very likely it was not many 
years. Gregoire 's ferry established at Dubuque was 
required to pay $100.00 annually. And the Council 
Bluffs and Nebraska Ferry Company was charged 
$1000 annually for the right to operate on the Mis- 
souri at Council Bluffs. 

In the course of time the steamboat replaced the 
steam ferry, and this marked the last stage of water 
transportation. Then came the bridges and wher- 
ever they appeared the ferries became an insignifi- 
cant factor in crossing the Mississippi. In 1855 the 
first bridge across the Mississippi at Davenport was 
completed ; eighteen years later a second bridge fol- 
lowed. The Illinois shore was linked to the Iowa 
shore at Clinton in 1864. Four years later work was 
in full sway on a bridge at Dubuque. And in 1891 
the so called **high bridge'' was opened at Mus- 
catine. 

It is needless to further catalogue these Missis- 
sippi crossings. Suffice it to say that since the nine- 



182 



THE PALIMPSEST 



ties all the important river towns have built bridges. 
And although water crossings still exist and doubt- 
less always will, it is apparent that the spanning of 
the Mississippi with mighty bridges sounded the 
death knell of the once prosperous trade of ferrying. 



William S. Johnson 



Clint Parkhurst 

Henry Clinton Parklmrst, a man of brilliant mind, 
a prolific author of fine prose and poetry produc- 
tions, has in consequence of a tangle of circum- 
stances, almost sunk into oblivion, yet the memory 
of him is fresh in the minds of a few of his former 
acquaintances who have made unavailing efforts to 
learn his recent whereabouts. 

It was a happy incident that The Palimpsest pub- 
lished in a recent number a few of Parkhurst 's 
Martial Memories, in which the private of the 
Sixteenth Iowa Infantry tells the graphic details — 
spiced with humor and some self-mockery — of the 
terrific Battle of Shiloh where he received his first 
and lasting impressions of war, for by that publica- 
tion the interest in the author has been revived. 

Where Clinton Parkhurst is living — at an age of 
76 or 77 — the present writer does not know. 
Neither has he much knowledge of his doings after 
he left the Iowa Soldiers ' Home at Marshalltown, of 
which he is reported to have been an inmate since 
1895. As a matter of fact he probably spent com- 
paratively few years at the Home for during that 
period he was for a longer or shorter time in various 
parts of the country — East, West, and South. But 
of the earlier years much can be told and the follow- 
ing account is an attempt to contribute some of the 
missing fragments of the biographical mosaic". 

183 



184 



THE PALIMPSEST 



The village of Parkliurst in Scott County, where 
Clint was born in 1844, and the neighboring village 
of LeClaire, which in 1855 were consolidated nnder 
the name of LeClaire, have been centers of intel- 
lectual life from their earliest days, and Mr. and 
Mrs. Lemuel Parkhurst, the parents of Clinton, were 
prominent in that society. His mother early recog- 
nized the bright qualities of her son and granted 
him every advantage for their cultivation. In later 
years he wrote of his mother : 

Ignore the eommon goal, she said, 

Leave fools to gather rubbish vile ; 
Lift thou thine eyes to heights o 'erhead, 

And seek to bask in Glory's smile. 
The sluggard perishes in shame, 

The Shylock's pomps with him expire. 
The hero leaves a deathless name 

For countless ages to admire. 
Strong be thy will — as iron strong, 

To cleave a path to grand renown, 
And, peerless in the fields of song, 

To millions shall thy name go down. 
Let proud ambition sway thy mind, — 

To live, that when thy race is o'er, 
Resplendent tracks shall glow behind. 

Clint had his early training in a select school in 
LeClaire, taught by a Mrs. Mary Marks, a highly 
educated English lady, the wife of an Episcopal min- 
ister. In Davenport he first attended the public 



CLINT PARKHURST 



185 



school, then Iowa College, and after its removal to 
Grinnell, the Griswold College. He is said — and 
probably truthfully — to have been full of harmless 
pranks. He had a peculiar way of translating 
phonetically some silly Latin sentences : for instance, 
^ * Pastor ridebit ^ ' he would give in English ' ' Pastor, 
ride a bit'^ and for ^^Puer juraveraf he would say 
**The poor jury Ve a rat". This sort of linguistic 
sport, however, was not always appreciated by the 
teacher. From early youth he evinced a remarkable 
gift for beautiful prose writing and also for versifi- 
cation which augured a great future. 

In February, 1862, at a little over seventeen years 
of age, he enlisted in Co. C of the Sixteenth Iowa 
Infantry and on March 20th was sent with his regi- 
ment to St. Louis. There the raw recruit was 
equipped with a glittering rifle and other parapher- 
nalia and was sent a few days later to war, the hor- 
rors of which he immediately experienced in the 
bloody Battle of Shiloh. Never shirking from duty, 
or avoiding the perils of battle, he participated in 
all the important events of the various campaigns 
up to the battles around Atlanta, when he with the 
greater portion of the gallant regiment was cap- 
tured and held a prisoner by the Confederates. 

From the beginning of his military service he kept 
a daily record of all he saw and participated in, con- 
tinuing it till the war ended, not ceasing to write 
secretly in the deadly stockades of Andersonville, 
Millen, and Florence. Thus he accumulated much 



186 



THE PALIMPSEST 



highly valuable material which was later elaborated 
in a large number of war sketches and also fur- 
nished a delicate coloring for his different epical 
works. 

Parkhurst was mustered out of service in Jiily, 
1865, and became a reporter on the Davenport Demo- 
crat, but soon shifted to a paper in Le Claire, thence 
to Eock Island, Moline, Muscatine, Des Moines, and 
other places. In one or two of these papers he had 
even acquired a pecuniary interest. He never 
stayed long in one position, nowhere finding an op- 
portunity that would suit his particular ideals of 
journalism, and he quit. He turned to writing maga- 
zine articles and other forms of literary work. For, 
as he says of himself: 

Prom his very boyhood days 
Fame had been his constant dream. 

It is difficult, almost to the verge of impossibility, 
to follow Clint Parkhurst 's much twisted meander- 
ings. One month he might be in Chicago or New 
York, and the next in San Francisco, St. Louis, or 
Tacoma, doing for a short time some editorial or 
other literary work, or he would spend weeks and 
months in the Sierras to gather new inspirations. 
In 1874 and 1875 he was in Mexico and Nicaragua, 
and the fruit of this jaunt was an extensive epos 
entitled **Sun Worship Shores In 1876 he came 
from California back to Davenport, where in De- 



CLINT PARKHURST 



187 



cember of that year he was admitted to the bar of 
Scott County. 

The subjects of his writings were almost exclu- 
sively historical — biblical or secular. Numerous 
sketches from the Civil War have been published in 
the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago News, the 
Davenport Democrat, the Davenport Times, the 
Davenport Leader, the Omaha Bee, the Galveston 
News, the Boston Investigator, the Marshalltown 
Register, etc., either over his real name or the nom 
de plume **Free Lance". Several of the above 
named papers printed also large extracts from his 
epics, **Shot and Shell", Judith", Voyage of 
Columbus", *^In Custer's Honor", Pauline", 
**Sun Worship Shores", Death Speech of Robert 
Emmett", and others. As a sample of his mode of 
treatment of biblical themes the following para- 
phrase, entitled Solomon's Lament", may find a 
place : 

Shulamite return, return — 
My heart is lone, no joys can cheer ; 
The very stars have ceased to burn 
With wonted rays, and chill and drear 
The breezes come from mountains bare 
To moan to me in low despair. 
They miss thee as the stars have done. 
Thy roses swoon beneath the sun ; 
All nature sighs, all fair things yearn 
For thee — Shulamite return. 



188 



THE PALIMPSEST 



Return, return, Shulamite — 
I cannot stay my grief with wine ; 
I cannot through the day or night 
These wasting thoughts of thee resign ; 
No more my wonted joys delight, 
No more I bow at Pleasure's sihrine, 
Nor bask in halls of glory bright — 
How long, sweet, must I repine ? 

A kindred one I cannot meet 
'Mong all Judea's joyous throng; 
whither stray thy joyous feet, 
Thou princess of my mournful song? 
peerless idol of my mind, 
Thou sweeter than the breath of dawn ; 
fairest of all womankind — 
Queen of my heart, where hast thou gone ? 
Hath love yet lore thou hast not taught, 
Or lore I have not deigned to learn? 
/ Then be all lore save thine forgot — 
Shulamite return, return. 

Several times Parkhiirst lost large parts of Ms 
manuscripts, in two instances a whole book. Por- 
tions of them he resurrected from newspaper files, 
and in filling the gaps he also improved these works. 
In the winter of 1904, in his old home city, and with 
many of his literary notes and treasures around Mm, 
he again prepared his writings, including a new epos 
of about 1200 lines entitled Tamerlane Victorious 
or the World's Desolation'', for a book. When com- 



CLINT PARKHUEST 



189 



pleted, it went up with other matter in flame and 
smoke. 

Newspapers generally are not inclined to print 
much rhyme, or long poetry. They view original 
verse with disfavor. But they were generous to 
Clint Parkhurst, giving much space to extensive ex- 
tracts from his works, and these, at least, could be 
lifted out of their graves. 

With book publishers he was much less successful. 
Byron once gave his publisher a splendidly bound 
Bible, and the recipient was proud of it until he 
happened to discover that his friend donor had 
altered the last verse of the 18th chapter of St. John 
(Now Barrabas was a robber) so as to read: ^*Now 
Barrabas was a publisher/^ 

Parkhurst came to the conclusion that most of the 
American publishers were Barrabases. He has 
named many a publishing house of prominence 
which has injured him. He has also publicly pil- 
loried several distinguished authors who have ap- 
propriated, literally or with slight changes, large 
portions of his manuscripts when temporarily in 
their possession. In this respect he fared worse 
than the poor devils of young Frenchmen who wrote 
good stories for the great Dumas, who put his name 
upon their front pages. But they were paid, how- 
ever miserably, for their slave-work. Clint did not 
get a cent for the productions stolen from him, but 
was treated with abuse when he remonstrated. 

In newspapers may often be seen advertisements 



190 



THE PALIMPSEST 



like this: ^^Casli paid for bright ideas/' When a 
writer without a name subjects such ideas to the 
advertiser they are kept for awhile and then courte- 
ously declined, but after some little time they ap- 
pear, somewhat masked, in a book, perhaps, under 
some famous person's name. Clint once replied to 
an advertisement in a New York paper offering liter- 
ary employment, and was invited to an interview, in 
the course of which a bulky manuscript was pro- 
duced, which he was only permitted to glance at for 
a few minutes. He could only gather that it w^as a 
maritime narrative. The advertiser said: *^The 
material is good, but the book doesn't suit us ex- 
actly. We want it reproduced in a little better style. 
What can you do the job fori" Clint was very poor 
and needed a little money badly ; but he declined to 
**do the job"; he did not want to assist a leech to 
suck another poor fellow's heartblood. 

In 1896, in his temporary Tusculum, the Soldiers' 
Home of Virginia, he wrote an historical romance 
concerning the Black Hawk War, entitled Mili- 
tary Bejle". It was a. book of love and adventure, 
and inw^oven was the story of the proverbial unlucky 
man, for whom the author himself was the model. 
Under disadvantages and persecuted by the manage- 
ment of the Home, who attributed to him certain 
derogatory newspaper letters which he never wrote, 
the manuscript was finished after about a year. A 
publisher was found in New York, and the outlook 
was fine. Because of some one's blunders several 



CLINT PARKHURST 



191 



letters of the publisher did not reach the author who 
never saw a proof, and the publication was long de- 
layed. Parkhurst finally went to New York, where 
he learned that the book had already been stereo- 
typed. But it abounded in grievous errors, and nu- 
merous plates had to be cut and cast over. At last, 
in 1899, the Military Belle made her bow, and an 
encouragingly large number of books were sold. 
But the publisher failed, and Clint got only about $9 
from the debacle. 

The last and probably the greatest of his many 
literary misfortunes was blended with the one of the 
city of San Francisco. In Davenport he had gath- 
ered from many newspaper columns a large portion 
of his poetical writings, which he re-arranged, care- 
fully improved, and incorporated in a manuscript 
ready for the printer. This manuscript he sent in 
1905 to his daughter Mabel in San Francisco — as 
usual without keeping a duplicate. On the 18th day 
of April, 1906, that beautiful city was visited by 
earthquake and conflagration. His daughter did 
well enough to save her life, but all her belongings 
and the manuscript of her father were destroyed. 

Parkhurst outlived this shock as he had many 
previous minor ones. In January, 1908, a Daven- 
port friend received from him a hopeful letter out 
of the Missouri mountains. He wrote that he had 
taken up the life of a literary hermit. **I came to 
the wilds of the Ozarks last summer,'' he wrote, 
**and the venture has been a success. I own an acre 



192 



THE PALIMPSEST 



of ground, have a good house on it, have a library of 
fifty choice volumes, and several dozen magazines 
and daily papers, and have every want supplied. 
My pension has been increased to $12 per month." 
He was enthused over the glorious sceneries'' and 
the ^incomparable climate." His health was good; 
for anybody's health is good here." But the soli- 
tude there could not suit him for any great length of 
time. He returned to the Iowa Soldiers' Home, 
where he was in company with his old commander. 
Col. Add. H. Sanders. From that place he dis- 
appeared in August, 191 3, after having spent there, 
off and on, periods of various duration. Nothing 
has of late been heard of any more literary work 
of his. 

Aug. p. Eichtee 



Comment by the Editor 

CLINTON PAEKHUEST 

Somewhere on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, 
Clinton Parkhurst is apparently still living. Since 
the publication of the October Palimpsest we have 
had many letters about the writer of A Few Mar- 
tial Memories. Some of these letters were from 
readers who did not know Parkhurst but whose in- 
terest was aroused by his graphic descriptive pow- 
ers. Others have come from men and women who 
have known Clinton Parkhurst at different times in 
his career — and they have supplied many of the 
missing fragments of the mosaic. 

We have heard from friends of Clinton Parkhurst 
in his schoolboy days, from neighbors, from his 
fellow journalists, from his brother, and from his 
daughter. We can now definitely connect him with 
the early Parkhursts of the town of that name. His 
father, Lemuel Parkhurst, was the son of Sterling 
Parkhurst and a nephew of Eleazer Parkhurst, the 
founder of the town. Here he was born in 1844, in 
the same township where two years later Buffalo 
Biir' Cody first saw the light of day. 

The most complete account of Parkhurst that has 
come to us is that of Aug. P. Kichter, for many years 
editor of Der Demohrat of Davenport ; and it is this 
story which is printed in the present number of The 

193 



194 



THE PALIMPSEST 



Palimpsest. The letters and accounts, however, 
whether from friend or relative, are alike in one 
respect. They fail to answer the question: Where 
is Clinton Parkhurst? With all of them the trails 
run out and stop. We have heard that two of his 
friends say, in identical phraseology, that he is 

basking on the shores of the Pacific'', but they do 
not say where. 

Probably we could find his address by writing to 
the Pension Department at Washington. But this 
we do not intend to do. The biographical mosaic is 
nearly complete. If the subject of the portrait 
wishes to keep the corner piece in his pocket during 
his last few years, it is his right and we shall respect 
it. We are happy to have read some of his writings, 
and to know something of the man, and we shall 
wish him many happy days on the sunset shores of 
America. 

THE RIVEE 

It will soon be two hundred and fifty years since 
the canoes of Marquette and J olliet swept out of the 
Wisconsin into the waters of the Mississippi ; and in 
those long years the river has had a wonderful his- 
tory. Full of romance are the days when explorer 
and fur trader paddled their slender barks up and 
down the stream. Upon its broad highway the set- 
tlers of the Louisiana Purchase arrived. Primitive 
steamboats laid their course along the beautiful 
shores of the prairie land of Iowa, while busy fer- 
ries laced their way back and forth across the cur- 



COMMENT BY THE EDITOR 



195 



rent. Then came the heyday of the paddle wheel — 
those adventurous times when the roar of the whistle 
and the sound of the pilot 's bell were heard on every 
bend of the river; when captains and crews raced 
their boats with a high spirit of sport, feeding the 
fires with barrels of resin till the flames sometimes 
blazed from the tops of the stacks. Snags and ex- 
plosion and fire took a heavy toll, but it was not 
these accidents that spoiled the game and made Mark 
Twain's river a thing of the past. Just as the fer- 
ries gave way to the bridges, so the steamboat traffic 
declined with the extension of railroads. The river 
still runs past our borders. Its banks are as beauti- 
ful as ever. The wooded islands'' and ^^enchant- 
ing scenes" of Beltrami's day are still there. 

Last summer we wanted to do as Beltrami and so 
many others had done — travel by boat up the river 
to the falls of St. Anthony and see the beauties of 
the Upper Mississippi by night and day from a 
steamer's deck. But we were told that there was no 
steamship line now making the trip. Beltrami, 
nearly a hundred years ago, had the advantage of 
us. We can only travel alongside and see the river 
from a car window or catch fleeting, smoke-veiled 
vistas as we slip across on the bridges. However, if 
the old adventurous days are denied us in the pres- 
ent and if the scenic highway is closed we can at 
least enjoy the glories of the past and we intend to 
tell in The Palimpsest during the coming year some 
of the stories of the days when the Steamboat was 
King. J. C. P. 



INDEX 



[Note — The names of contributors of articles in The Palimpsest are 
printed in small capitals. The titles of articles and of all other publications 
are printed in italics.] 



Adams, William, part of, in execution 

of O'Connor, 94, 96 
Advertisements, early, 42 
Agriculture, early training for, 38 
Allamakee County, geological records 

in, 135, 136 
Americans, characterizations of, 144- 

165 

Amusements, early forms of, 39 
Anamosa limestone, formation of, 136 
Andersonville (Georgia), Clinton 

Parkhurst a prisoner of war at, 

185 

Andros, Dr., 97 

Arbre-Croche, journey of Mazzuchelli 

to, 103, 104 
Armor, description of Mexican, 80; 

gift of, to State, 80, 81 
Armstrong, Secretary, fort named for, 

147 

Artists, historical accuracy of, 29, 
30, 31 

Astronomy, early lecture on, 39 
Atlas of Iowa, notes concerning, 61- 
63 

Ballots, taking of, 26, 27 

Balls, announcements of, 39 

Baptists, services of, in Iowa City, 38 

Barrabas, mention of, 189 

Bates, Captain, O'Connor defended 
by, 90, 91 

Beans, use of, for voting, 26, 27 

Beauregard, P. G. T., troops in 
charge of, 121, 122 

Becket, Henry, 95 

Bellevue, story of fight with outlaws 
in, 9-28; description of, 11; crime 
in, 11, 12; celebration at, 14, 15; 
trial of outlaws at, 24-28; erection 
of Catholic church at, 107 

Beltrami, Giacomo Constantino, ac- 
count by, of trip up Mississippi 
River, 144-149; mention of, 195 

Berlin, name of Parkhurst changed 
to, 129 

Bete Puante, river named, 145 
Black Hawk Purchase, trials in, 87; 

rush to, 172 
Black Hawk War, romance dealing 

with, 190, 191 



Blashfield, Edwin H., discussion of 
painting by, 30, 31 

Bloomington (Muscatine), ferry at, 
42, 174; erection of Catholic 
church at, 107 (see also Musca- 
tine) 

Bloomington Herald, attack on, 52, 

53; editor of, 69 
Bogy's ferry, 175 

Brasher, Thomas R., part of, in exe- 
cution of O'Connor, 93, 94 
Bremer, Fredrika, comments of, on 

Iowa country, 158-162 
Bridges, number of, 181, 182 
Briggs, John Ely, A Geological 

Palimpsest, 133-142 
Brophy, John, attempt on life of, 88 
Brown, Irene F., quotations from, 
116, 122 

Brown, Jesse B., order of, concerning 
log cabin, 76 

Brown, William W., story of, 10-23; 
description of activities of, 10, 12, 
13 ; character of employees of, 10, 
11, 12, 13; exclusion of employees 
of, from celebration, 14, 15 ; share 
of, in fight, 14, 17-23 ; warrant for 
arrest of, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; kill- 
ing of, 23 

Brown, Mrs. William W., 10, 20, 21, 
23 

Buchanan County, arrival of Bill 
Johnson in, 65, 66 

Buell, D. C, arrival of army under 
command of, 123, 125, 127, 128 

Buffalo, ferry at, 173, 177; fee for 
operating ferry at, 181 

Buffalo robes, receipt of, 42 

Burlington, erection of Catholic 
church at, 106 ; Robert Louis 
Stevenson's visit to, 162, 163 ; fer- 
ry at, 171 

Burlington Gazette, editorial attack 
on Iowa City Standard by, 51, 52 

Byron, Lord, anecdote of, 189 

Calico, ferry fees paid in, 178 
Camp, Hosea L., service of, on jury, 
90 

Camp Benton (Missouri), Clinton 
Parkhurst at, 111, 113 



197 



198 



THE PALIMPSEST 



Camp Kinsman, gift of, to Iowa, 83 
Camp Roberts, change of name of, 83 
Camp meetings, notices of, 39 
Canadian revolt, 66 
Candidates, charges for announce- 
ments of, 46 
Canoes, use of, as ferry boats, 170, 
171, 194 

Carrol, Nicholas, service of, on jury, 
90 

Cattle, stealing of, 11 
Cedar River, prehistoric channel of, 
141 

Chadwick, Herman, house of, 94 
Chesterton. Gilbert K., quotation from, 
29, 30 

Chichester, Mr., arrest of, for rob- 
berv, 12 ; attempt of, to kill Mitch- 
ell, 17, 38; plea by, 25 

Churches, work of Mazzuchelli in 
building of, 105, 106, 107, 108, 
109 

Cincinnati (Ohio), Mazzuchelli at, 
102, 104 

Civil War, career of B. S. Roberts in, 
82-85 ; reminiscences of, by Clinton 
Parkhurst, 111-128, 187; Clinton 
Parkhurst's career in, 185 

Clark, Benjamin W., ferry established 
bv, 173, 181; fees of, 177, 178 

Clark, William, 144 

Clark's ferry, establishment of, 173, 
174 

Clay-eaters, 159, 160 
Climate, prehistoric, 133-142 
Clinton, first bridge at, 181 
Clothing, advertisement of, 42, 43 
Coldwater (Michigan), settlers from, 
10 

Colored beans, use of, in voting, 26, 
27 

Comment by the Editor, 29-31, 61-63, 
98-100, 129-132, 166-168, 193-195 

Council Bluffs, Robert Louis Steven- 
son at, 164, 165; ferry at, 181 

Council Bluffs and Nebraska Ferry 
Company, license fee of, 181 

Counterfeit money, passing of, in vi- 
cinity of Bellevue, 11, 12 

Cox, Thomas, description of, 13 ; 
quarrel of, with William W. Brown, 
13 ; posse led by, 19, 22, 23 ; trial 
of outlaws in charge of, 25 ; ver- 
dict announced by, 27 

Crescent City (steamboat), Iowa 
troops on, 114 

Creston, 163 

Crittenden, George B., disloyalty of, 

82, 83 
Cromwell, 163 

Crossing the Mississippi, by William 
S. Johnson, 169-182 



Crum, William, description of, 47; 

editorials by, 48-55 
Crump's Landing, march from, 122 

Dakota Democrat, press used in 
printing of, 59 

Davenport, George, murder of, 28, 98 

Davenport, James Thompson said to 
have been in, 12 ; early newspaper 
at, 53 ; Benjamin S. Roberts on 
duty at, 83, 84, 85; erection of 
Catholic church at, 106 ; ferry at, 
173, 174, 176, 178; fee for oper- 
ating ferry at, 181; bridge at, 181 

Davenport Democrat, Clinton Park- 
hurst as reporter for, 186 

Davis, Jefferson, miners removed by, 
99 

Democrats, attacks on, 47 
Desertions, frequency of, at Fort Des 

Moines, 151 
Des Moines, painting in capitol at, 

30, 31; Clinton Parkhurst in, 186 
Dickens, Charles, quotation from, 144 
Dinners, giving of, for public men, 39 
Disloyalty, fear of, in Iowa, 84, 85 
Doctors, charges of, in early times, 

43 

Dragoons, account of, 151, 152 
Drinking, prevalence of, 153, 155. 
157 

Dubuque, Julien, home of, 56; lead 
mines of, 136; G. C. Beltrami's 
story of, 147-149; grave of, 148, 
158 

Dubuque, money issued by, 42 ; trial 
at, for attack on Bill Johnson, 68, 
69; mining at, 86, 148; trial and 
execution of Patrick O'Connor at, 
86-97; conditions at, in 1834, 99, 
100 ; work of Mazzuchelli at, 104, 
105 ; Fourth of July celebration at, 
107; visit of G. C. Beltrami to, 
148 ; white settlements at, 152 ; C. 
A. Murray's visit to, 152-158; re- 
ligious services in, 156; steam fer- 
ry at, 175; bridge at, 181; license 
fee for ferry at, 181 

Dubuque Lead Mines, settlement 
known as, 56 

Dubuque Visitor, The, establishment 
of, 56, 60 

Dumas, Alexandre, employees of, 189 

Dunmore, Lord, relation of Charles 
Augustus Murray to, 149 

Eads, T. C, village founded by, 129 
Editor, Comment by the, 29-31, 61- 

63, 98-100, 129-132, 166-168, 193- 

195 

Editorial Dialogue, An Old-Time, by 
John C. Parish, 47-55 



INDEX 



199 



Editorials, examples of, 40, 41 ; quo- 
tations from, 47-55 

Editors, opinions of, 40, 41; com- 
ments of, 44, 45, 47-55 

Elk, chase of, 65 

Emigrants, difficulties of, in crossing 
rivers, 169, 170, 171, 194, 195 

Evans, Mr., sentence of, for attack 
on Bill Johnson, 69 

European Eyes, Through, 144-165 

Europeans, visits of, to Mississippi 
Valley, 144-165 

Ferries, description of, 169-182 ; kinds 
of, 170, 171, 172, 174, 175, 176, 
181; dangers of, 171, 172, 173; 
alarms for, 176; tolls for, 177, 
178, 179; profits of, 179, 180; 
fees for franchises for, 180, 181 

Ferry alarm, 176 

Ferrying, end of trade of, 182 

Few Martial Memories, A, by Clin- 
ton Paekhurst, 111-128 

First Dragoons, location of, at Fort 
Des Moines, 75 

Fitzmaurice, Rev., O'Connor aided by, 
92, 93, 94, 95, 96 

Flag, raising of, in City of Mexico, 
79 

Flat-boats, use of, for ferry boats, 172 
Florence (South Carolina), Clinton 

Parkhurst a prisoner of wnr at, 

185 

Fort Armstrong, location of, 146, 
147: origin of name of, 147 

Fort Crawford, work of troops from, 
99 

Fort Des Moines (No. 1), Benjamin 
S. Roberts at, 75, 76, 77; C. A. 
Murray's description of, 150, 151, 
152 ; freight charges on goods for, 
151 

Fort Edwards (Illinois), G. C, Bel- 
trami at, 144 
Fort Dodge, gypsum deposits at, 138 
Fort Madison (town), Benjamin S. 
Roberts at, 77, 78 ; provision for 
free ferry at, 180 
Fort Madison (fort), ruins of, 145 
Fort Stanton (New Mexico), Benja- 
min S. Roberts assigned to, 82 
Fourth of July, early celebration of, 
39 

Fox, William, arrest of, for robbery, 
12 ; testimony of, 12 ; attempt of, 
to kill James Mitchell, 17, 18; war- 
rant for arrest of, 19 ; part of, in 
murder of Colonel Davenport, 28 

Fox Indians, encampment of, 147 

France, Mazzuchelli in, 102 

Franchises for ferries, 177, 180, 181 

"Free Lance", use of by Parkhurst, 
as nom de plume, 187 



Freight, early charges for, on Mis- 
sissippi River, 151 

French, ferry tolls paid by party of, 
177, 178 

Fulton, A. C, news of Bill Johnson 
secured by, 73 

Galena (Illinois), robbery at, 12; 
counterfeit money passed near, 12 ; 
Patrick O'Connor at, 87, 88; work 
of Mazzuchelli at, 104, 105 ; first 
court house in, 109 ; G. C. Beltrami 
at, 147; Fredrika Bremer's visit 
to, 158 ; C. A. Murray's visit to, 
158 

Gallahbr, Ruth Augusta, Benja- 
min Stone Roberts, 75-85 

Geological Palimpsest, A, by John E. 
Betogs, 133-142 

Geology, palimpsest made by, 3, 4; 
work of Benjamin S. Roberts in, 
77 ; records of, in Iowa, 133-142 

Glaciers, prevalence of, in Iowa coun- 
try, 140, 141 

Glee clubs, 38, 39 

Godey's Magazine, advertisement of, 
46 

Goodhue, J. N., newspaper founded 
by, 59 

Grant County Herald (Wisconsin), 
press used in printing of, 59 

Green River, ferry at, 176 

Gregoire's ferry, license fee of, 181 

Griswold College, attendance of Clin- 
ton Parkhurst at, 185 

Groceries, advertisements of, 42, 43 

Gun boats, shells from, 124 

Guns, 6 

Hadley, Miss, indignities to, 15 
Harrington, Anson, James Mitchell 

defended by, 16, 17; information 

sworn to by, 19, 20 ; escape of, 20 ; 

death penalty favored by, 25, 26; 

verdict approved by, 28 
Harrison, Jesse M., service of, on 

jury, 90 

Head, Sir Francis Bond, revolt 

against, 66 
Headlines, relation of, to news value, 

34, 35 

Historian, realm of, 31, 61 
Historical materials, destruction of, 4 
History, comparison of journalism 
with, 29 

Homes of the New World, The, publi- 
cation of, 158 
Horse ferry, adoption of, 174 
Horses, stealing of, 11; transporting 
of, across rivers. 170; use of, to 
propel ferry boats, 174 
Hospitals, destruction of, 125, 126 
Hotels, advertisement of, 43 ; descrip- 



200 



THE PALIMPSEST 



fion of, in early days, 152 158, 
160, 161, 164, 165 

Incus, relics of civilization of, 5 

Indian, murder of, 150 

Indians, records of, 5; government 
trade with, 145; canoes used by, 
in crossing Mississippi, 170 

Industries, early, 42 

Iowa, dramatic story of, 1 ; palimp- 
sests of, 5-8; early newspapers of, 
37, 38, 39, 40, 41; first printing 
press in, 56, 60; atlas of, in 1875, 
61-63 ; Benjamin S. Roberts on 
duty in, 83, 84, 85 ; attachment 
of, to Michigan Territory, 86, 87; 
lack of courts in, 87, 91, 99, 100; 
conditions in, in 1834, 98, 99, 
100; climate of, 133-142; geolog- 
ical records in, 133-142; descrip- 
tions of, by European travelers, 
144-165; visit of Fredrika Bremer 
to, 160-162; significance of, 166- 
168; ferries on Mississippi River 
in, 169-182 

Io^va Capitol Reporter, description of, 

37, 38; editorials in, 40, 41, 48- 
55; attack on, 52, 53 

Iowa City, early newspapers of, 37, 

38, 39, 40, 41, 47-55; arrival of 
steamboat at, 43, 44 ; discovery of 
lead near, 44; erection of Catholic 
church at, 106, 107; Old Capitol 
building at, 109 

loiva City Standard, editorials in, 48- 
55 (see also Iowa Standard) 

Iowa College, attendance of Clinton 
Parkhurst at, 185 

loiva Farmers and Miners Journal, 
announcement of, 46 

Iowa Home Note, The, by Bbrtha 
M. H. Shambaugh, 143 

Iowa Nevjs, change of name of Du- 
hrique Visitor to, 57 

Iowa River, steamboat on, 44; pre- 
historic channel of, 141; provision 
for free ferry over, 180 

Iowa Soldiers Home, Clinton Park- 
hurst in, 131; departure of Clin- 
ton Parkhurst from, 183, 192 

Iowa Standard, description of, 37, 
38; editorials in, 40, 41; com- 
ment of, 44 (see also Iowa City 
Standard) 

Ireland, Archbishop, 109 

Jackson, Andrew, refusal of, to inter- 
fere in O'Connor's behalf, 93 

Jackson County, story of fight with 
outlaws in, 9-28 ; prevalence of 
crime in, 11, 12, 19 

Jackson Day, celebration of, 14-16 



Jail, lack of, 11, 17, 26 

Johnson, Bill, story of, 65-74; attack 
on, 68; move of, to Mahaska Coun- 
ty, 70; murder of, 71, 72; discov- 
ery of perjury of, 72, 73 

Johnson, Kate, story of, 65-74; at- 
tack on, 68; charms of, 68, 69; 
move of, to Mahaska County, 70 ; 
elopement of, 71; warrant for, 72 ; 
later career of, 73, 74 

Johnson, William S., A Romance 
of the Forties, 65-74; Crossing the 
Mississippi, 169-182 

Johnson County, discovery of lead in, 
44 

Johnston, Albert Sidney, death of, 

120, 121; speech of, 120, 121 
Jolliet, Louis, 194 

Jones, William Cary, newspaper work 
of, 56, 57, 58; career of, 57, 58 

Journalism, historical accuracy of, 29 
(see also Newspapers) 

Jurors, list of, 90; verdict of, 90, 91 

Kearny, Stephen Watts, Benjamin S, 
Roberts under command of, 75, 76 

Keesecker, Andrew, newspaper work 
of, 56, 57; career of, 58, 59; eulo- 
gy of Kate Johnson by, 69 

Keokuk, C. A. Murray's description 
of, 149, 150 ; freight charges from 
St. Louis to, 151; visit of Fred- 
rika Bremer to, 160, 161, 162; 
first ferry at, 173 

Keokuk County, mob in, 84 

King, John, newspaper published by, 
56, 57, 60; career of, 57 

Kirkwood, Samuel J., military guard 
requested by, 84 

Labrador, glacier from, 141 
Lake Michigan, outlet of, 141 
Lancaster (Wisconsin), removal of 

printing press to, 59 
Lead, discovery of, 44 ; mining of, 

148 

Le Claire, Antoine, friendship of, 
Mazzuchelli, 106; ferry established 
by, 173, 174, 181; ferry sold by, 
176; fees of, for ferrying, 178 

Le Claire, early settlers in, 129 ; con- 
solidation of, 184; newspaper work 
of Parkhurst at, 186 

Legal notices, publication of, 39 

Legislative Council, lecture in hall of, 
39 

Letters, historical materials in, 7 
Licenses, fees for, 180, 181 
Lindstrom (Minnesota), press used 
at, 60 

Log cabin, historical materials from, 
6; construction of, 76 



INDEX 



201 



Loire, Antoine, service of, on jury, 
90 

Long, Mr., warrant for arrest of, 19 
Loras, Bishop, appointment of, 106, 
107 

Lorimier, Peter A., smelting furnace 
of, 88 

Loring, Colonel, disloyalty of, 83 
Louisa County, provision for free 
ferry in, 180 

McCabe, Thomas, service of, on jury, 
90 

McClary, Benjamin, eloping couple at 

cabin of, 71 
Machu Picchu, relics of, 4, 5 
McKensie, John, service of, on jury, 

90 

Mackinac Island, Mazzuchelli at, 102 
Madden, Ezra, part of, in execution 

of O'Connor, 93, 94, 95 
Mahaska County, settlement of Bill 

Johnson in, 70 
Mail, carrying of, 42 
Manuscripts, loss of, by Clinton 

Parkhurst, 188, 189 
Maps, making of, by Mazzuchelli, 109 
Maquoketa, Catholic church at, 107 
Maquoketa River, prehistoric channel 

of, 141 

Marks, Mrs. Mary, school taught by, 
184 

Marquette, Jacques, 194 

Marriages, notices of, 39 

Martial Memories, A Few, by Clin- 
ton Parkhurst, 111-128; refer- 
ence to, 183 

Massey, Woodbury, service of, on 
jury, 90; verdict read by, 91, 92; 
part of, in execution of O'Connoi*, 
93, 94 

MazeuchelU, Father, by John C. Par- 
ish, 101-110 

Mazzuchelli, Samuel Charles, sketch 
of career of, 101-110 

Mechanics' Academy, laying corner 
stone of, 38 

Memoirs, publication of, by Mazzuch- 
elli, 103, 108; maps in, 109 

Methodists, services of, in Iowa City, 
38 

Mexico City, Benjamin S. Roberts in, 

79 ; flag raising in, 79 
Mexican War, career of Benjamin S. 

Roberts in, 78, 79, 80 
Michilimakinac, Indian trade center 

at, 145 

Military Belle, A, publication of, 190, 
191 

Militia, plan of Benjamin S. Roberts 

concerning, 82 
Millen (Georgia), Clinton Parkhurst 

a military prisoner at, 185 



Miners' Express (Dubuque), found- 
ing of, 57; eulogy of Kate Johnson 
in, 69 

Minnesota, first newspaper in, 59 

Minnesota Historical Society, claim 
of, to Goodhue press, 60 

Minnesota Pioneer (St. Paul, Minne- 
sota), press used in printing of, 
59, 60 . 

Mississippi River, outlaws sent down, 
28; prehistoric channel of, 139, 
141; trip of G. C. Beltrami up, 
144-149; description of banks of, 
146, 147; trip of C. A. Murray up, 
149-158; transportation on, ' 150, 
151; travel on, 169; ferries on, 
169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 177, 
178 

Mississippi Valley, prehistoric records 
in, 4 

Missouri, refusal of Governor of, to 
aid O'Connor, 93 

Missouri River, ferry over, 181 

Mitchell, James, James Thompson de- 
nounced by, 14; Thompson killed 
by, 15, 16; arrest of, 16, 17; at- 
tempt to kill, 16, 17, 18, 19 

Molasses, making of, 44 

Moline (Illinois), Clinton Parkhurst 
at, 186 

Money, territorial, 42; scarcity of, 
177, 179 

Mormons, visit of Mazzuchelli to, 107, 
108 

Mound builders, works of, 4, 5 
Mount Vesuvius, relics from ashes of, 
4 

Mounted Rifle Regiment, Benjamin S. 

Roberts assigned to, 78 
Mud scows, 172 

Murder, prevalence of, around Beile- 
vue, 11 

Murray, Charles Augustus, comment 
of, on Iowa country, 149-158 

Muscatine, high bridge at, 181; Clin- 
ton Parkhurst at, 186 (see also 
Bloomington ) 

Music, early education in, 38 

Nauvoo (Illinois), visit of Mazzuchel 

li to, 107, 108 
Nelson, General, troops led by, 123 
New Englander, story of, 171 
New Era (Sauk Rapids, Minnesota), 

press used in printing of, 60 
New Mexico, Benjamin S. Roberts in, 

83 

Neivspaper History, by Bertiia M. 
H. Shambaugh, 33-46 

Newspapers, historical materials from, 
6, 7, 29, 33-46, 61; difficulties in 
use of, for historical purposes, 34, 
35, 36; editorials in, 40, 41, 47- 



202 



TIIP] PALIMPSEST 



55: delay in distribution of, 46; 
work of Clinton Parkhurst for, 
386, 187, 188, 189, 190 

O'Conner, The Trial and Execution 
of Patrick, at the Dnbuque Mines 
in the Summer of 1834, by Eli- 
PHALET Price, 86-97 

O'Connor, Patrick, story of, 86-97; 
earlv life of. 87, 88; murder of 
OKeaf by, 89: trial of, 90, 91; 
execution of, 92-97; comment on 
execution of, 98-100 (see also 
O'Conner) 

Ogdensburg and Champlain Railroad, 
Benjamin S. Roberts employed on, 
77 

Ohio River, G. C. Beltrami's journey 
on, 144 ; description of banks of, 
146 

O'Keaf, George, murder of, 88, 89, 
98. 99 

Old Capitol (Iowa City), designer of, 
109 : limestone used for. 137 

Ordovician limestone, formation of, 
136 

Oskaloosa, Job Peck at, 74 

Outlaws, trial of, at Bellevue, 24-28; 
punishment of, 24-28 

Oxen, transportation of, across riv- 
ers, 170 

Ozark Mountains, residence <-.f Clin- 
ton Parkhurst in, 191, 192 

Palimpsests, account of, 2-3 

Palimpsests, by John C. Pabisit, 2-8 

Papyrus rolls, use of, for writing, 2 

Parchment, writings on, 2-8 

Parish. John C, editorial comments 
bv, 29-31, 61-63, 98-100, 129-132, 
166-168, 193-195 

Parish, Johx C, Palimpsests, 2-8; 
White Beans for Hanging, 9-28; 
An Old-Time Editorial Dialogue, 
47-55: Three Men and a Press, 56- 
60; Father Mazzxichelli, 101-110 

Parkhurst, Clinton, war experiences 
of, 111-128, 185, 186; comments 
on career of, 129-132, 193, 194; 
wanderings of, 183, 186, 190, 191, 
192; sketch of life of, 183-192; 
birth of, 184; education of, 184, 
185: vrritings of, 186, 187, 188, 
189, 190; admission of, to bar, 
187; manuscripts lost by, 188, 
189: disappearance of, '192; letters 
concerning, 193 

Parkhurst, Clint, by Aug, P. RlCH- 
TER, 183-192 

Parkhurst, Clixto^^, A Few Mar- 
tial Memories, 111-128 

Parkhurst, Eleazer, village founded 
by, 129, 193 



Parkhurst, Lemuel, 129. 184, 193 
Parkhurst, Mrs. Lemuel, character of, 
184 

Parkhurst, Mabel (Mrs. H. I. Krick), 
191 

Parkhurst, Sterling, 193 
Parkhurst, Waldo, 129 
Parkhurst, village of, 129, 184, 193 
Parrish, Mr., sentence of, for attack 

on Bill Johnson, 69 
Patriot War of 1838, leader of, 66 
Peck, Job., marriage of, to Kate 

Johnson, 70, 71; arrest of, for 

murder of Bill Johnson, 72; later 

life of, 73, 74 
Peru, historical relics in, 4, 5 
Pestallozian system, mention of, 38 
Phileas. Di., operation by, 87 
Pioneer Press Company, printing 

press given to Minnesota Historical 

Society by, 60 
Pioneers, relics of, 6, 7; picture of, 

30, 31 

Pittsburg Landing (Tennessee), ar- 
rival of Clinton Parkhurst at, 115; 
description of vicinity of, 115; de- 
scription of battle of, 116-128 

Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), Kate 
Johnson in, 74 

Politics, reflection of, in newspapers, 
40, 41: editorial dialogue concern- 
ing, 47-55 

Pompeii, relics of, 4 

Pope, John, B. S. Roberts under 
command of, 83, 84 

Posse, organization of, in Jackson 
Countv. 20, 22; tight of, 23, 24 

Potosi (Wisconsin), erection of Cath- 
olic church at, 106 

Prairie du Chien (Wisconsin), Maz- 
zuchelli at, 103 ; erection of church 
at. 106 

Prentice, Milo HL, service of, on jury, 
90 ; part of, in execution of O'Con- 
nor, 93, 94 

Press, story of, 56-60 

Price, Eliphalet, sketch of life of, 98 ; 
Mazzuchelli described by, 105 

Price, Eliphalet, The Trial and 
Execution of Patrick O'Conner at 
the Dubuque Mines in the Summer 
of 1834, 86-97 

Printing press, story of, 56-60; dis- 
pute over, 59, 60 

Privacy, lack of, in pioneer hotels, 
152-156 

Public ferries, establishment of, 172 
Public printing, early committee on, 
41 

Publishers, difficulties of Clinton 
Parkhurst with, 189, 190 

Quasqueton, arrival of Bill Johnson 
at, 65, 66, 67 



INDEX 



203 



Quitman, J. A., army led by, 79 

Railroads, steamboats displaced by, 
195 

Rangers, recruits for, 151 

Rawley, Mr., sentence of, for attack 
on iBill Johnson, 69 

Resolutions in honor of Benjamin S, 
Roberts, 81, 82 

Richter, August P., account of Park- 
hurst's career given by, 183-192, 
193, 194 

Richter, August P., Clint Park- 
hurst, 183-192 

Ripple (steamboat), arrival of, at 
Iowa City, 43, 44 

Rivers, difficulties in crossing, 169, 
170, 194, 195 

Roberts, Benjamin Stone, early life 
of, 75; cabin built by, 76; promo- 
tion of, 76. 77, 78, 80, 81; resig- 
nation of, 77; journey of, to Rus- 
sia, 77; law practice of, 77, 78; 
part of, in Mexican War, 78, 79, 
80; honor paid to, by Iowa, 81, 
82 ; plan of, concerning militia, 
82 ; career of, in Civil War, 82- 
85 ; career of, after Civil War, 85 

Roberts, Benjamin Stone, by RUTH 
A. GaIjLAHBR, 75-85 

Rockingham, ferriage rates fixed by 
court at, 178, 179, 181; fee for 
operating ferry at, 181 

Rock Island (Illinois), location of, 
146: Clinton Parkhurst at, 186 

Rock River, Indians on, 147; ferry 
over, 176 

Rolette, Joseph, robbery of, 12 

Romance of the Forties, A, by Wil- 
liam S. Johnson, 65-74 

Russell; John B., Andrew Keesecker 
ridiculed by, 69 

Russia, trip of Benjamin S. Roberts 
to, 77 

Sac and Fox Indians, treaty with, 

86: camp of, 145, 147 
St. Cloud Union (Minnesota), press 

used in printing of, 60 
St. Lawrence River, revolt in vicin- 
ity of, 66 
St. Louis (Missouri), Iowa troops at, 

114, 185; G. C. Beltrami at, 144; 

Indian trade of, 145 ; freight 

charges on goods from, 151 
San Francisco (California), loss of 

Clinton Parkhurst's manuscript in 

fire at, 191 
Sanders, Add. H., residence of, at 

Iowa Soldiers' Home, 192 
Santa Clara College, founding of, 109 
Sauk Center Herald (Minnesota), 

press used in printing of, 60 



Sauk Rapids (Minnesota), press 
moved to, 60 

Sauk Rapids Frontiersman (Minne- 
sota), press used in printing of, 
60 

School, early, 38 

Selma (Alabama), William Gary 

Jones imprisoned at, 57 
Seventh Iowa Cavalry, guard duty 

of, 84 

Shambaugh, Benj. F., The Vision, 1 
Shambauoh, Bertha M. H., News- 
paper History, 33-46; The Iowa 
Home Note, 143 
Shiloh (Tennessee), description of 
battle of, 116-128, 183; part of 
Clinton Parkhurst in, 116-128, 
185 

ShuUsburg (Wisconsin), erection of 
Catholic church at, 107 

Siberia, prehistoric records in, 3, 4 

Sinsinawa (Wisconsin), erection of 
Catholic church at, 107 

Sioux Falls (South Dakota), print- 
ing press at, 59 ; press in museum 
at, 59 

Sioux Falls granite, evolution re- 
vealed by, 135 
Sioux Indians, outbreak of, 59 
Sixteenth Iowa Infantry, war ex- 
periences of, 111-128, 130, 185 
Skiffs, use of, for ferry boats, 172 
Skunk River, settlement of Johnsons 
near, 70 

Smith, James, service of, on jury, 90 
Smith, John, part of, in execution of 

O'Connor, 93 
Smith, John S., service of, on jury, 

90 

Smith, Joseph, visit of Mazzuchelli 

to, 107, 108 
Smith, Justin H., quotation from, 79 
Smith, P. F., army led by, 79 
Soldiers' Orphans' Home, Iowa, lo- 
cation of, 83 
Solomon's Lament, quotation from, 
187, 188 

South Dakota, claim of, to printing 
press, 59. 60 

Spencer, Mr., sentence of, for attack 
on Bill Johnson, 69 

Spinning wheel, 6 

Squatters, description of, 159, 160 

State Historical Society of Iowa, ar- 
mor presented to, 80 ; manuscript 
sent to, 131 

Steam ferries, establishment of, 174, 
175 

Steamboats, disasters to, 39, 195; 
use of, on the Mississippi, 181, 
194, 195 

Stephenson (Illinois), people from, 
176 



204 



THE PALIMPSEST 



Stevenson, Robert Louis, comments 
of, on trip through Iowa, 162-165 

Sublett, Tom, pistol of, 15 

8\vor(l, presentation of, to State of 
Iowa, 80, 81; gift of, to Benjamin 
S. Roberts, by State of Iowa, 82 

Taliaferro, Lawrence, Beltrami in 

company of, 144 
"Tamerlane Victorious or the World's 

Desolation", loss of manuscript of, 

188, 189 

Tavlor, Zachary, miners driven out 
by, 99 

Telegraph Herald (Dubuque), 57 
Temperance Society, meeting of, 39 
Tennessee River, description of, 114, 
115 

Theft, prevalence of, around Belle- 
vue, 11, 12; infrequency of, in pio- 
neer settlements, 155, 156 

Thompson, James, character of, 12 ; 
arrest of, 12 ; denunciation of, 14 ; 
killing of, 15, 16 

Thousand Isles (Canada), refuge of 
Bill Johnson in, 66 

Three Men and a Press, by John C. 
Parish, 56-60 

Tolls, collection of, 177, 178, 179 

Torrejon, General, defeat of, 80 

Total Abstinence Society, meetings of, 
39 

Travel, difficulties of, 169, 170 
Troops, equipment of, in Civil War, 

111, 112; sickness of, at Fort Des 

Moines, 151 
Twain, Mark, 195 

Uniforms, description of, in Civil 
War, 112, 113 

Van Antwerp, Ver Planck, descrip- 
tion of, 48, 49, 52 ; editorials by, 
48, 55 ; sale of paper by, 55 
Vellum, use of, for writing, 2 
Virginia Soldiers Home, Parkhurst 
in, 190 

Vision, The, by Benj. F. Sham- 

BAUGH, 1 



Wagons, transportation of, across 
rivers, 170 

Wallace, General Lew., march of, 122 

Wapsipinicon River, prehistoric chan- 
nel of, 141 

Warren, Sheriff, account of, 9, 10 ; 
story of border incident told by, 9, 
14; difficulties of, in preserving 
order, 11; difficulties of, in pre- 
venting crime, 19; attempt of, to 
arrest outlaws, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 
24; part of, in fight, 17-24; pris- 
oners defended by, 24 

Warrior (steamboat), 157 

Washington hand press, story of, 59,. 
60 

Washingtonians, meetings of, 39 
Waxen tablets, use of, for writing, 2 
Wells, Lyman, attempt of, to kill 

James Mitchell, 17, 18, 19 
West Point Academy, Benjamin S. 

Roberts educated at, 75 
Wheeler, Loring, part of, in execu- 
tion of O'Connor, 93, 94, 95 
White, Captain, part of, in execution 

of O'Connor, 90, 91 
White beans, use of, in voting, 26, 27 
White Beans for Hanging, by John 

C. Parish, 9-28 
Whipping, vote for, 26, 27, 28 
Wilson, John, steam ferry established 

by, 175, 176, 181 
Wilson, Thomas, warrants issued by, 

19 

Wiltse, H. A., press used by, 59 
Wisconsin Territory, first newspaper 
in, 56 

Wood, A. P., contest of Andrew Kee- 
secker with, 58, 59 

Wood, Brown's men employed in cut- 
ting, 10, 11 

Wool, payment of ferry tolls with, 
178 

Writings, old forms of, 2 ; destruction 
of, 4, 5 

Yahowas, river of, 145 



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